US embassy cable - 05CHENNAI925

NEPALI MAOIST REMAINS STUCK IN CHENNAI JAIL

Identifier: 05CHENNAI925
Wikileaks: View 05CHENNAI925 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Consulate Chennai
Created: 2005-05-11 07:42:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PINR PREL PTER IN NP India
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

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, India-Nepal 
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 
 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
LAWYERS MAY TALK WITH GAJUREL, BUT NOT WITH THE PRESS 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
 
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." 
 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
LAWYER SAYS CHANCES FOR POLITICAL ASYLUM ARE DIMINISHED 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
 
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. 
 
------------------------------------------ 
GAJUREL LIKELY TO REMAIN IN CHENNAI PRISON 
------------------------------------------ 
 
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 

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