HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: More than 900 foreign citizens are currently doing time in Nepali jails, according to the Department of Prison Management.
The number of foreign prisoners is on the rise, just as the DoPM struggles to manage the jails which are overcrowded and in dilapidated state. Most of the foreigners behind bars are serving their sentences for drug smuggling. Others have been sent to the slammer for fraud, passport forgery, and possession and trafficking of fake currency, among others.
The DoPM statistics shows that 903 foreigners are doing time in 51 jails of 49 districts throughout the country. Of the total, 270 inmates are in three prisons of the Kathmandu Valley — 172 in Central Jail, Sundhara, 33 in Dillibazaar Prison and 65 in Nakkhu Jail of Lalitpur. Likewise, Parsa jail has 139 prisoners, which is the largest number of foreign jailbirds in any prison outside the Valley.
Parsa is followed by Jhapa with 102 inmates, Morang with 42, Banke with 41, Jhumka of Sunsari with 35, Mahottari with 33, Kailali with 30, Palpa with 27 and Saptari with 21 jailbirds. Similarly, Siraha jail has 19 foreigner jailbirds while Kaski, Rautahat and Kapilvastu have 15, 12, and 11 inmates, respectively.
According to the DoPM, the largest number of foreign inmates in Nepali jails are Indian citizens, followed by Bhutanese and Bangladeshis. Likewise, citizens from Pakistan, China, Nigeria, Tanzania, France, Japan, the USA, the Philippines, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, South Africa, Zambia and Malaysia too are jailed in Nepal.
The data shows that Indian and Bhutanese prisoners were sentenced on charges of drug smuggling, robbery, murder and human trafficking while most of Pakistani prisoners were jailed for carrying fake currency notes and duplicate passports and drug trafficking, among others.
Similarly, large numbers of Bangladeshis were found involved in fake currency, fraud and drug smuggling whereas Chinese were charged for overstaying their visa and possessing illegal arms. Citizens from Nigeria, Tanzania, Malawi and others were charged for drug smuggling while women from Thailand, the USA, Africa, the Philippines were also found involved in similar crimes.
Prison records also indicate that mounting number of foreign inmates behind bars has added to the problems faced by inmates in already overcrowded jails. “Our jails have already double and somewhere four times more prisoners than they can accommodate,” said Shambhu Koirala, Director General of DoPM.
According to him, most of the foreign jailbirds in Central Jail often express their wish to be shifted to Nakkhu jail, which is relatively better.
In the slammer
• 172 foreigners are doing time in Central Jail, Sundhara, 33 in Dillibazaar Prison and 65 in Nakkhu Jail of Lalitpur
• Parsa Prison has 139 foreign inmates, which is the largest number of foreign prisoners in any jail outside the Valley
• Most of the foreign prisoners doing time in Nepali jails are Indian citizens
• Most of the foreigners serving sentences for drug smuggling
• Others face charges of fraud, passport forgery, and possession and trafficking of fake currency
• People from Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, Nigeria, Tanzania, France, Japan, the USA, the Philippines, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, South Africa, Zambia and Malaysia are doing time