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Nepalese journalist's murderer sentenced to life in prison

(Freedom Forum/IFEX) - On 25 February 2013, the Jhapa District Court issued a verdict sentencing Yuvraj Giri to life imprisonment and the confiscation of all his properties. Giri is the main accused in the 2012 murder of journalist Yadav Poudel, a reporter with Rajdhani daily and Avenues Television.

Other accomplices in the murder were also sentenced. Phul Maya Karki (Manju) was sentenced to three years in prison, her husband Somnath Dhakal to one year and Madan Rai to six months in prison. A single person bench of District Judge Giriraj Mani Gautam delivered the verdict.

Journalist Poudel, who was also the Executive Editor of the Mechi Times daily published in Jhapa district, was murdered near the Birtamod-based bus park on the night of 3 April 2012.

A permanent resident of Sijuwa, Morang, a district in the southern plain in eastern Nepal, Poudel had had a decade-long career in journalism in the neighboring Jhapa district.

Freedom Forum welcomes the court verdict as it should help deter further crimes, provide relief and justice to the journalist's agonized family and serve as a morale boost to fellow journalists who are striving for professional journalism throughout the country. Moreover, it is a step forward in the battle against the growing impunity in the country.

Background

Following a minor dispute, Giri reportedly pushed journalist Poudel off from the rooftop of a three-story hotel. The hotel was owned by Manju and Somnath Dhakal.

Giri and the journalist had eaten dinner together the night of the murder and were said to have discussed matters related to a newspaper they were planning to publish, according to Freedom Forum's investigative team. Giri's plan to discuss the publication of the newspaper Ujjyalo Purva from the beginning of the Nepali New Year (13 April 2012) turned into a maneuver to finish off Poudel.

The investigative team concluded that Poudel's reports on social malpractices and various misdemeanors in the area may have been the root cause for his murder.

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