October 7, 2005
Deliberate neglect by authorities contributes to journalists’ death
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation representing more than 500,000 journalists in over 110 countries, has condemned the intentional neglect and mistreatment of an imprisoned Nepali journalist that lead to the journalists’ death.
On October 4, Nepali journalist Maheshwor Pahari, died from tuberculosis after authorities repeatedly refused Pahari’s pleas for medical help.
Pahari had been ill several months but only received treatment when he was taken to hospital a week before his death. Pahari was in good health at the time of his arrest.
“The IFJ is deeply disturbed and saddened by the preventable death of Pahari. Authorities knew the journalist was ill, they could have listened to doctors’ recommendations, they could have given him the medicine he needed and improved the conditions that he was being held in, but they did not,” said IFJ President Christopher Warren.
“Nepalese authorities cannot deny the cruel way in which they contributed to Pahari’s death. He was just 30 years old,” said the IFJ President.
According to IFJ sources, Pahari was held with about 100 other detainees in a cell designed for 20 prisoners.
On January 2, 2004 authorities secretly imprisoned, tortured and interrogated Pahari for over six months under anti-terrorism law. The journalist was re-arrested on May 13, 2005 just after being released from Kaski prison near Pokhara.
Pahari was a local reporter for the weekly Rastriya Swabhiman, which shut-down after the ceasefire between the Maoist insurgence and government forces was broken in August 2003. The journalist was targeted by authorities for his alleged links with the Maoist rebels.
Pahari’s friends and colleagues were banned from seeing him while he was being held. When he was finally transferred to a regional hospital, authorities allowed his wife, Durga Pahari, to speak to her husband for a few minutes before his death.
The IFJ supports calls for the representative of the UN High Commissioner for human rights in Nepal, Ian Martin, to launch an investigation into Pahari’s death.
In other news, the IFJ has welcomed a resolution on Nepal adopted by the European Parliament on September 30 calling for all restrictions on media freedom to be lifted immediately and all political prisoners in detention to be either released or charged.
For more information about the Nepal crisis visit www.ifj-asia.org/page/nepalcrisis.html
For further information contact Christopher Warren on +61 (0) 411 757 668.
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries