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Nepalese journalist's murderers sentenced to life in prison

On July 8, 2014, the Appellate Court in Ilam sentenced three individuals to life in prison for the murder of journalist Yadav Poudel of Jhapa, a district in eastern Nepal. Those accused of the murder are Yuvraj Giri, Phul Maya Karki Dhakal and her husband Somnath Dhakal.

On February 25, 2013, the Jhapa District Court had handed down a sentence of life imprisonment with confiscation of all properties to Giri, the main accused behind the murder of Poudel, a reporter with the Rajdhani daily and Avenues Television.

Accomplice Phul Maya had been slapped with a three-year prison sentence, while her husband Somnath was sentenced to one year and Madan Rai to six months.

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

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

Freedom Forum welcomes the Appellate Court's verdict as it has sought rigorous punishment for all those involved in the journalist's murder; the verdict should help deter further crimes, provide relief and justice to the agonized family and a moral boost to Poudel's fellow journalists who are working hard in support of professional journalism in different parts of the country. Moreover, this a step forward in the fight against the increasing impunity in the country.

BACKGROUND:

Following a minor dispute, Giri, the main individual accused in the case, had pushed Poudel from the rooftop of a three-story hotel. The journalist fell to his death near the Birtamod bus park, in Jhapa district. The hotel was owned by Manju and Somnath Dhakal.

Giri and Poudel had dinner together on the night of the murder and were said to have met to discuss matters related to a newspaper they were planning to publish, entitled Ujjyalo Purva. According to Freedom Forum's probe team, Giri's original intent to discuss the publication of the newspaper as of the Nepali New Year (April 13, 2012), turned into an act aimed at 'finishing off' the journalist.

The probe team concluded that Poudel's reporting on various misdeeds and malpractices in his area may have been the root cause of his murder.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
What other IFEX members are saying
Case history


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