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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05CHENNAI925 2005-05-11 07:42:00 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Chennai
Cable title:  

NEPALI MAOIST REMAINS STUCK IN CHENNAI JAIL

Tags:   PGOV PINR PREL PTER IN NP 
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110742Z May 05
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L CHENNAI 000925 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/10/2015
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL PTER IN NP
SUBJECT: NEPALI MAOIST REMAINS STUCK IN CHENNAI JAIL

REF: A. A) 04 CHENNAI 00436


B. B) CHENNAI 00496

Classified By: Consul General Ravi Candadai. Reason 1.5 (b, d)



1. (C) SUMMARY: In a recent court decision, the Madras High
Court has ruled that a team of human rights lawyers may visit
senior Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) leader Chandra
Prakash Gajurel who was arrested in August 2003 for
presenting a forged British passport at Chennai airport and
remains in a Chennai prison (Ref A). The team is restrained,
however, from making any public statements about the prisoner
or about the foreign policy of the Government of India. Hope
for a grant of asylum in a European country appears to be
dimming and Gajurel is likely to remain in prison in Chennai.
END SUMMARY



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LAWYERS MAY TALK WITH GAJUREL, BUT NOT WITH THE PRESS


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2. (C) On March 12, 2005, Chennai Central Prison officials
refused to permit a team of European human rights lawyers to
visit Chandra Prakesh Gajurel, suspected senior member of the
Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in the prison. The basis
for their refusal was the fact that the attorneys had entered
India on tourist visas and therefore, according to prison
officials, could not be legally representing Gajurel (Ref B).


K. Chandru, a Chennai human rights lawyer, argued before the
Madras High Court on behalf of the team of lawyers who were
denied access. After a delay of more than a month, the High
Court has ruled that the legal team should be allowed to
visit Gajurel. The Court's order added, however, "the
delegation is severely restrained from issuing any public
statement or giving any interview to the press regarding
their interview with the prisoner or any matter concerning
the prisoner." The Court went on to say, "the team shall not
pass any comments on the foreign policy of the Government of
India." This additional order is a reaction to a press
conference the lawyers held after prison officials denied
them access to Gajurel in March. In that press conference
they criticized not only the prison officials but also the
Government of India for its policy on extradition and
suggested that Gajurel's imprisonment was "politically
motivated."



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LAWYER SAYS CHANCES FOR POLITICAL ASYLUM ARE DIMINISHED


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3. (C) K. Chandru, the lawyer who successfully argued before
the High Court to gain access for the legal team, told Poloff
that "things are not looking too good now" for Gajurel's
being granted asylum in either of two European countries
where Gajurel hoped to find asylum. He also said that
without a grant of asylum, Gajurel would rather stay in
prison in Chennai, fearing extradition to Nepal if he were to
be released. In fact, court documents that Chandru provided
Post show that Gajurel was granted bail previously but chose
to remain in prison.



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GAJUREL LIKELY TO REMAIN IN CHENNAI PRISON


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4. (C) COMMENT: Without a grant of asylum in some foreign
country, both the government and Gajurel seem content with
the status quo. The government does not want to try Gajurel
since even if he were convicted he would have to be released
because he has already served close to the maximum sentence
for the passport fraud offense with which he is charged.
Lawyers for Gajurel know this as well and so are not pressing
for a trial on the passport offense since they don't want to
see him released without a grant of asylum. With neither
side pushing for a trial and political asylum less likely
according to his lawyer, Gajurel is likely to remain right
where he is in Chennai Central Prison for some time to come.
END COMMENT
CANDADAI