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Nepal lawyers boycott courts after bar president suspended

[JURIST] Lawyers in Nepal [JURIST news archive] began a boycott of court proceedings Sunday to protest the suspension [Nepalnews.com report] of the national bar association's leader by the Nepalese Supreme Court [official website]. The court last week suspended Bishwa Kanta Mainali, president of the Nepal Bar Association [profession website], for six months after he suggested that many Nepalese judges accept bribes. A bar association official said the boycott would continue until the court reverses the suspension, although some local media reported the boycott would end Tuesday. One Supreme Court justice has called the suspension "erroneous," saying in an interview [Himalayan Times report] that the court should reconsider the decision after hearing from Mainali. AP has more. Kantipur Online has local coverage.

Questions about the integrity of Nepal's judiciary have been raised before. Last year, the International Commission of Jurists [advocacy website] urged Nepalese lawmakers to amend the country's interim constitution [JURIST report] to create a fully independent judiciary. The Nepalese Supreme Court has also voiced concerns [JURIST report] about judicial independence, pointing to a constitutional provision giving the prime minister sole discretion in appointing the chief justice.

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