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Five suspects arrested in Nepalese journalist's 2004 murder

UPDATE: Nepal's PM angered by arrests in journalist murder case (IPI, 9 January 2013)

(Freedom Forum/IFEX) - Five of the eight individuals allegedly involved in the 2004 abduction and subsequent killing of journalist Dekendra Thapa were arrested on January 4, 2013. Freedom Forum welcomes this action by the concerned authority, even though it has been very delayed, coming eight years after the murder.

The District Police Office in Dailekh arrested five persons, all of whom belonged to the then Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). Four of them are still district level leaders and cadres of the ruling Unified Community Party of Nepal (Maoist), and one is connected to the party's breakaway faction, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).

The detained are: Laxmi Ram Gharti Magar of Dwari VDC-1, Bir Bahadur KC of Baluwatar VDC-7, Nirak Bahadur Gharti Magar of Baluwatar-9, and Harilal Pun Magar of Dwari VDC-3, and Jay Bahadur Shahi, a resident of Raniban VDC-1.

However, Bam Bahadur Khadka of Katti VDC, Bam Bahadur Khadka of Chhiudipusakot VDC and Keshav Khadka of Dwari VDC, who were accused of involvement in the crime by Thapa's wife, apart from Laxmi Gharti Magar, are yet to be arrested. Police have reportedly launched a manhunt to arrest the trio.

"According to Laxmi Magar's preliminary statement, nine people were directly involved in Thapa's murder," said Police Inspector Binod Sharma.

Following the arrest, Thapa's wife Laxmi said that she could now hope to see her husband's killers behind bars.

"The arrest of the killers after so long has given me hope," said Laxmi, reported the Republica daily on January 6.

Freedom Forum expects a fair investigation by the police administration and stringent actions against the culprits. The arrest of the alleged killers has obviously provided some relief to the journalist's family and media persons across the country.

Journalist Thapa was abducted in June 2004 and later found murdered. He was a reporter for Radio Nepal based in Dailekh, a far-western region of Nepal, when he was abducted.

The journalist's murder was confirmed by the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) after the journalist's dead body was excavated on June 25, 2008 in the presence of a team of forensic experts.

Subsequently, in August 2008, the journalist's wife filed an FIR (First Information Report) with the District Police Office, against Maoist cadres Bag Bahadur Khadka, Keshav Khadka, Lachhiram Gharti and Bam Bahadur Khadka.

On December 18, 2011, Freedom Forum had expressed concern over the ill-efforts of the UCPN-Maoist leaders to withdraw Thapa's murder case. Former prime minister and chairman of the UCPN-Maoist, Pushpa Kamal Dahal and then Vice-Chairman Mohan Baidya (now chairman of the CPN-Maoist) had unduly pressured Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to withdraw the case.


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