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Nepal Maoists Admit to Murder of Journalist
Birendra Kumar Sah was abducted Oct. 5
Prakash Luitel (prakash)     Email Article  Print Article 
Published 2007-11-07 12:08 (KST)   
Members of Nepal's press assemble in Kathmandu, Tuesday, to remember Birendra Kumar Sah.
©2007 P. Luitel
The Communist Party of Nepal Maoists (CPNM), whose cadres murdered journalist Birendra Kumar Sah in an abduction aimed at silencing his reporting against their activities, has been widely criticized nationally and internationally. Journalists, human rights activists, political parties, NGOs and INGOs have strongly condemned the Sah's killing and warned the party to better control its cadres and to ensure that such a crime is not repeated.

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They have also demanded immediate action in prosecuting those responsible for Sah's death.

Sah was abducted by the CPNM cadres on Oct. 5, and it was later confirmed that he was shot dead on the same day of his abduction. A high-level committee formed by the CPNM to investigate the abduction, released a report on Monday confirming the journalist is dead.

The report said that district-level Maoist cadres in Bara district Lal Bahadur Chaudhari, Ram Ekwal Sahani and Kundan Phoujdar were directly involved in the killing, while another cadre, Hare Ram Patel, who was also said to have a hand in the incident was found "innocent."

"Under the directive of Lal Bahadur Chaudhari, Bara district committee member, Maoist cadres Phoujdar and Sahani abducted journalist Sah and his friend Ram Dev Das, who was released later, on Oct. 5," the report said. "Sah was taken to the jungle and shot dead by them."

Condemning the killing, the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) organized a protest rally and corner meeting on Tuesday in Kathmandu where journalists, human rights activists and lawyers bitterly criticized the Maoists and asked the government to take action upon the guilty.

On Tuesday morning, all independent FM radios observed two minutes of silence at 7 a.m., as a show of solidarity and protest.

In a press statement issued on Monday, the FNJ said it is deeply saddened over the news of Sah's killing, terming the incident "an attack not only against press freedom, human rights and democracy but also against entire human civilization."

Hundreds of journalists gathered in downtown Kathmandu, Tuesday.
©2007 P. Luitel
"This s an unpardonable crime against humanity," the umbrella organization of Nepalese journalists said. "The Nepali press community will never forgive those involved persons and party in this incident." Criticizing the CPNM, the FNJ said, "The Maoist party cannot escape by showing a few cadres at a time when the heinous crime was committed by mobilizing the entire district committee of the party."

FNJ has also asked the Maoist leadership to seek a pardon from Sah's family, the Nepali press community and the entire nation over the incident, which could also affect the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and ongoing peace process.

Birendra Kumar Sah
The Maoists have issued a statement saying the "individualistic" and "anarchist" nature of lower-rung party cadres caused the incident which is completely against party policy. In a press conference organized to release the report, Hari Bhakta Kandel (alias Pratik), coordinator of high-level probe committee and in charge of the Bhojpura Sub-Committee of the party, said, "We are ready to help extend support to police as these cadres have been found committing crime against the directives of party policy."

Also condemning the journalist's killing were Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the European Union (EU).

The Maoists have continuously been criticized for attacks on media houses and journalists in recent weeks in Nepal.
©2007 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Prakash Luitel

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