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Nepal rights commission questions army chief on abuses during democracy protests

[JURIST] Nepal's High Level Probe Commission Thursday questioned army chief Pyar Jung Thapa as part of the panel's continuing investigation of alleged human rights abuses during pro-democracy protests [JURIST news archive] in April which brought an end to the 14-month direct rule of King Gyanendra [official profile; BBC profile]. Dilli Raman Acharya, spokesman for the five-member commission, said 84 royal ministers and lead security members who served under Gyanendra have been summoned for similar questioning [JURIST report]. Several individuals also came to the commission's headquarters Thursday to lodge accusations against Thapa for injuries they suffered during the protests, but Nepalese police arrested at least four complainants for what they called "unruly behavior." Thapa told the commission that the army was following orders to suppress the Maoist insurgency [BBC backgrounder] and that the army's actions were not designed to end the protests [NepalNews.com report].

The commission, headed by a former supreme court justice, is tasked with investigating the government's response to the protests which resulted in almost 20 deaths and hundreds of injuries. The body, which was formed under the interim government of Nepal [JURIST news archive], has the authority to interrogate officials, issue warrants, and make recommendations regarding actions which should be taken against rights abusers. AFP has more. eKantipur.com has local coverage.

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