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Government grants compensation to journalist Meena Sharma Tiwari for detention and torture

(IPI/IFEX) - The following is a 12 February 2009 IPI press release:

Nepal Grants Compensation to Journalist for Detention and Torture

VIENNA, 12 February 2009 - More than six years after her detention and torture, Nepalese journalist Meena Sharma Tiwari has been granted compensation of 15,000 Nepalese rupees (150 euros) by the Appellate Court.

Tiwari is the fourth Nepalese journalist to receive compensation in connection with detention and mistreatment by the authorities.

"IPI welcomes the judgment as an important sign of Nepal's respect for the rule of law," said IPI Director David Dadge. "It is an important sign that Nepal is developing the democratic institutions capable of looking back into the past and providing compensation for the victims of detention and torture."

In awarding the money under the Act Related to Torture and Compensation, the Appellate Court on 10 February ruled that Tiwari was illegally detained and tortured by the security forces.

Tiwari is the editor of the Ekybaddata (Solidarity) magazine. She was arrested without charges on 24 May 2002, together with assistant editor Binod Tiwari, reportedly because the authorities considered Ekybaddata too critical of the government and supportive of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). She was released on 5 November 2002, and Binod Tiwari was released on 5 September 2002.

Nepal's Press Freedom Grand Jury established claims for compensation to Tiwari as well as 18 other journalists and two human rights activists detained by the authorities during the period of emergency.

The Press Freedom Grand Jury was set up in 2002 at the initiative of the IPI Nepal National Committee and other journalists' organisations, following the advice of an international IPI mission, which travelled to Nepal in reaction to the numerous attacks against journalists.

A state of emergency imposed between November 2001 and August 2002 had a devastating impact on news media, as it led to attacks, detentions, mistreatment, and murder of journalists. At least seven journalists were reported missing during this period. Some were released following successful habeas corpus writs, but at least one was found dead.

Updates alert on journalists filing compensation claims for detentions during 2002 state of emergency: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/18024

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