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MISSING JOURNALIST MURDERED BY MAOISTS

A member of the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) who went missing on 5 October was killed by members of the Maoist party, report FNJ and the Center for Human Rights and Democratic Studies (CEHURDES).

Birendra Shah, a journalist for Nepal FM, "Dristri Weekly" and Avenues TV, was shot to death on the same day he was kidnapped in Kalaiya, Bara, in central Nepal, on the request of a Maoist party leader, according to a report released on 5 November by a Maoist committee investigating the abduction.

Lal Bahadur Chaudhary, an area leader of Nepal's Maoist party, reportedly had a personal vendetta, and lured Shah with the promise of a story on wood smuggling.

The Maoists' announcement was made the day after protests by FNJ chapters across the country over Shah's abduction, and earlier meetings by the FNJ with government and Maoist party officials who committed themselves to revealing Shah's whereabouts. In Kathmandu, protests were met with police brutality: 14 journalists were arrested, including three FNJ staff members, and two of the 14 were injured. One of the journalists is still in hospital.

Maoists had been threatening repeatedly to take Shah's life since August, family members of the journalist told an FNJ mission in October. Shah had written several reports critical of Maoist actions. A few years ago, he disseminated news about a gang rape by Maoists in a national daily. Since then, he had received repeated threats from the party, the mission found.

Visit these links:
- FNJ: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/87438/
- CEHURDES: http://www.cehurdes.org.np/
(6 November 2007)

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