Nepal releases two top politicians

Nepal has freed the last two top political leaders who were detained when King Gyanendra grabbed power in February, but has extended the detention of 175 lower-level politicians and activists.

    King Gyanendra is under foreign pressure to restore democracy

    The authorities on Monday released Madhav Kumar Nepal and Amrit Bohara of the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist), officials said.

    Hundreds of lower-level political leaders and activists, however, remain in detention and the Home Ministry said in a statement that it was extending the detentions of 175 of them without giving a reason.

    The king is under strong pressure from foreign governments to restore democracy and has showed some signs of seeking reconciliation with political rivals in recent days.

    Still restrictions

    On Saturday, he lifted the emergency rule he declared on 1 February, although he still tightly controls the government.

    "The king may have announced withdrawing emergency rule, but in reality there are still restrictions and many politicians continue to be in jail," Madhav Kumar Nepal said after his release.

    "Unless the king gives up direct rule, restores powers back to the people and frees all political prisoners, there can be no dialogue between the political parties and the king," he said.

    Also on Monday, the government restored mobile telephone service, three months after severing it under emergency rule to prevent the opposition from organising anti-government rallies.

    But officials at state-owned Nepal Telecom said service was only restored in capital Kathmandu and only to 34,000 subscribers.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.