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Human Rights Groups Call for Sanctions Against Nepal's Rulers


Three prominent human rights groups have called for sanctions against Nepal's King Gyanendra and senior political and military officials.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists made the call as they met in Geneva Tuesday to review Nepal's human rights record.

The human rights groups are urging restrictions on travel and a freeze on the personal assets overseas of top Nepalese officials.

Thousands of people continued Tuesday to demonstrate against the king, and authorities for the first time arrested government employees for taking part in the protests. In Kathmandu, police arrested at least 25 Home Ministry employees as they shouted anti-monarchy slogans.

Hundreds of political activists have been jailed and five protesters have been killed by police during 13 days of protest.

Also Tuesday, India sent former cabinet minister Karan Singh to Nepal as a special envoy with a message from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The former ambassador to Washington will meet with King Gyanendra and political leaders and assess the situation.

King Gyanendra dismissed the elected government and took absolute power some 14 months ago, saying the government was unable to deal with the Maoist rebels who now have joined hands with the main political parties.

The protests as well as a general strike called by the seven main political opposition parties with the help of Maoist rebels has paralyzed the Himalayan kingdom.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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