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Nepalese journalist's attackers sentenced to prison

Freedom Forum welcomes a court decision slapping a jail term on the attackers of a journalist. On 22 April 2013, the Morang District Court sentenced Manoj Rai to five years in prison and Rohit Koirala to six months for assaulting Khilnath Dhakal, a reporter with the Nagarik daily, from Biratnagar, in eastern Nepal.

Both Rai and Koirala are cadres of the Youth Association Nepal, a youth wing of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist).

The two individuals had held and mercilessly assaulted Dhakal on 5 June 2011, over one of his news reports. Following the incident, the Morang Chapter of the Federation of Nepali Journalists filed an attempted murder case against the assailants and Parsuram Basnet, the mastermind behind the attack. Basnet appeared in court after absconding for 11 months. He was subsequently released and given a clean chit by the court.

Dhakal had reported on a physical attack on the prisoners at the premises of the Morang District Court that occurred on 1 June 2011.

Freedom Forum believes that even though the court decision was delayed, it will help check the growing impunity in the country. Moreover, it provides some relief and justice for the attacked journalist.

Freedom Forum, as an organization working to defend freedom of expression, the right to information, human rights and democracy in the country, had earlier condemned the attack and strongly demanded that the government bring the culprits to book as per the law.

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