Freedom Forum welcomes the verdict of Bara District Court on May 30, 2011 on slapping life imprisonment with property attachment to the two murderers of journalist from Bara, Birendra Saha.
With this court decision, a step has been taken by the State authority to put an end to the longtime unchecked impunity in the country thereby to promote freedom of expression/press.
The decision has come as a matter of happiness and justice to the torch-bearers of freedom of press and defenders of human rights in the country and abroad.
Journalist Birendra Saha was abducted and murdered on October 5, 2007. He was abducted and murdered by the cadres of the UCPN-Maoist namely, Managar Giri, Ram Ekbal Sahani, Lal Bahadur Chaudhary, Hare Ram Patel and Kundan Faujdar.
Sahani and Faujdar under the order of local Maoist leader Chaudhary had abducted journalist Saha, a reporter with the Avenues TV, from a local Pipra market of Umjan VDC-1 to nearby forest and killed him.
Managar Giri of Inarwasira-9 and Ram Ekbal Sahani of Khopwa VDC in the district, who were in the judicial custody for two years, were handed down the sentence by a single bench of Judge Bal Mukunda Dawadi. However, three others are still absconding. The case against them is pending, said District Attorney Bhuwaneshwor Poudel. It is said all three absconding are still the members of UCPN-Maoist.
Although the district administration had shown reluctance to arrest the murderers at first, the pressure in the parliament triggered by the demand from media and human rights sectors including international media missions forced the administration to hunt the culprits.
However, following the verdict, Saha's wife, Umarawati complained that though two have been punished, the main accused is still at large.
Umarawati has a son and a daughter.
The abduction and killing of journalist Saha had created furor in media and rights sector and made the journalists insecure.
However, the life imprisonment at least to the two murderers of journalist Saha, though late, has come as a bold step to end the impunity.
Freedom Forum urges the State authority again to intensify the search for the absconding murders including the prime accused and bring them to book to end impunity and help create free and fair atmosphere for the journalists to carry out their works.