07 January 2013
IFJ Welcomes Arrests in 2004 Murder of Nepali Journalist
Media Release: Nepal
January 7, 2013
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate, the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), in welcoming the arrest of five political cadre for the murder in August 2004 of Dekendra Thapa, a journalist with Radio Nepal and the Kathmandu-based Nepal Samacharpatra daily in Dailekh district in the far-western region of Nepal.
Reports in the Nepal media indicate that Lachhiram Gharti Magar was arrested on January 3 on the basis of a complaint filed by Thapa’s wife in 2008. His confession led to the arrest of Harilal Pun Magar, Bir Bahadur KC, Nirak Bahadur Gharti Magar and Jay Bahadur Shahi on the evening of January 5.
One of those arrested is a cadre of the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), while the four others belong to a breakaway faction. At the time of the murder, all five were associated with the ongoing Maoist insurgency.
Thapa was an active member of the FNJ and also closely associated with human rights and other civic advocacy work in the district. He was abducted from his home on 26 June 2004 and declared to have been executed on August 11 by the local leadership of the Maoist insurgency.
Faced with widespread public outrage, the national leadership of the Maoist insurgency issued a statement claiming that the murder was regrettable and “contrary to official policy”.
The IFJ observes that despite this admission, the Nepali government since the comprehensive peace accord (CPA) of 2006, has made no attempt to prosecute those guilty for the murder.
While the IFJ welcomes this action by the Nepali authorities, we call for the prosecution of those guilty for crimes against media practitioners, both during the war years and following the CPA.
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