Union activist jailed following convention

Submitted by Anon on 20 April, 2005 - 2:20

Dharmananda Panta, chair of a branch of the GEFONT trade union in Nepal, has been imprisoned for 90 days for trade union activity.

The authorities allege that his views had “hurt friendly relationships between neighbouring countries and disturbed peace in society”.

Panta has been active in the Independent Transport Workers Association of Nepal (ITWAN-GEFONT) for over fifteen years. He led a demonstration prior to a recent union convention and together with other trade unionists had chanted slogans in favour of peace, democracy and the trade union rights. Following the convention a police van rushed to Panta's house and arrested him.

Since the royal dismissal of the government in February, the Nepalese trade union movement has been the victim of a crackdown by authorities. Several trade unionists have been arrested, some of the detained are in poor health, and other labour activists have been forced into hiding, for fear of arrest.

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