Nepali Journalist Birendra Sah’s Killers Convicted

The International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) is encouraged to learn of a district court verdict in Nepal on

May 30, sentencing Mainejar Giri and Ramekbal Sahani to life terms in prison

for the murder of journalist Birendra Sah.


Sah, a news reporter with the

Avenues TV channel based in the district of Bara in Central

Nepal, was abducted allegedly by Maoist cadre on October

5, 2007. His body was discovered in November 2007 in a forested region in the

district, which is part of the troubled terai region (the southern plains) of

the country.


At the time of his death Sah was a

central executive committee member of the Press Chautari, one of the major national

unions of Nepali journalists, and a constituent unit of IFJ affiliate the Federation

of Nepali Journalists (FNJ).


Giri and Sahani, both reportedly

members of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist (UCPN-M), were

arrested shortly afterwards and almost immediately suspended from their

membership of the party. The UCPN-M was in the process of cementing a peace

agreement with other political formations in Nepal at the time.


There were suspicions that the two

suspects continued to enjoy the patronage of the Maoist leadership, especially

after the party emerged as the largest force in Nepal’s Constituent Assembly

elections in April 2008, taking up the reins of government shortly afterwards.


Three other suspects in the murder, Lal

Bahadur Chaudhary, Hareram

Patel and Kundan Fouzdar, have been declared as absconders from the law and are

reported to still work for the UCPN-M, despite their suspension from the party,

the FNJ reports.


“The IFJ welcomes the convictions

handed down to Giri and Sahani by the Bara district court, and hopes that the

absconding suspects will soon also be brought to justice,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.


“This is a serious affirmation of

respect for the rule of law and a positive step in safeguarding media freedom

and other civil liberties”.


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +61 2 9333 0919



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