IFJ Calls for Justice After Exhumation of Body in Nepal

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) notes that the wife of

journalist Dekendra Raj Thapa has identified a body exhumed in the town of

Dailekh, in Nepal’s far western region, as that of her husband.

 

Thapa, a reporter for Radio Nepal based in the town, disappeared

while on assignment in June 2004.

 

The exhumation on June 25 took place on the basis of information received

by the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), an IFJ affiliate. Officials of

the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal were at the site for the

exhumation.

 

The IFJ urges the police and all other relevant authorities in Nepal to launch

appropriate forensic tests to satisfy all legal requirements regarding the

identity of the body.

 

The FNJ has established through its own investigations that Thapa may

have died under torture on August 10, 2004. Bam Bahadur Khadkha, a militia commander of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), then an

underground insurgent movement but now the largest party in the Nepalese

Constituent Assembly, is alleged to have primary responsibility for Thapa’s

torture and killing.

 

Krishna Bahadur Mahara, the then spokesman for the Maoist insurgency, had

publicly expressed remorse over Thapa’s killing and called it contrary to his

party’s central policy directives.

 

Maoist representatives have repeatedly asserted that Thapa

died of natural causes. However, they have failed to provide any further

information.

 

“The IFJ urges the police and all relevant authorities in Nepal

to undertake the necessary investigations to establish responsibility for

Thapa’s murder,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

 

“The killing of Thapa and almost three years of not knowing the exact

circumstances of his disappearance have caused great privation for his family.

It is time for justice.”

 

The IFJ appreciates the fact that the FNJ has, within its limited

resources, sought to provide for Thapa’s family as best it can.

 

“But this support does not eliminate the need for a full process of

accountability,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ represents

over 600,000 journalists in 122 countries