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Freedom Forum Condemns PM Bhattarai's pressure to stop investigation on journalist killers

Press Release

Freedom Forum has been deeply concerned over the disruption in the interrogation of the killers of journalist Dekendra Thapa arrested by the police recently in the Dailekh, a district in the farthest west of the country.

The PM allegedly reached the Police Headquarters and Office of the Attorney General and directed the officials concerned to immediately stop the interrogation with five district level leaders and cadres of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and his ruling Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) who were arrested last Friday in connection with the murder committed eight years back.

Freedom Forum vehemently condemns the PM's move aimed at suppressing the rights of the victims to get justice and let the murder-accused off the hook. His pressure on the concerned bodies and the subsequent halt in the investigation has violated the human rights of the victims. PM's pressure came at a time when one of the arrested has admitted the crime- the gruesome murder- that Thapa was buried alive to death. In a statement given to the investigation officer and police, murder accused Laxmiram Gharti said, "He was desperately waiting to reveal the fact that journalist Thapa was killed excruciatingly. He was whipped for two days. As he did not die, he was buried alive to death." The arrestee further said he dug the soil and his friends buried Thapa live to death."

"PM's pressure is not only undue and unethical but a sheer violation of the human rights. Influencing the ongoing investigation by creating pressure on the government's major functionaries is highly condemnable. It is really a dictatorial move of the PM which has tried to protect the crime against humanity. His move is against established norms and values of the international human rights," said Taranath Dahal, Freedom Forum's Chairperson.

Meanwhile, PM Bhattarai at a program in the capital on January 8, 2013 accused the human rights activists of inciting the police administration to arrest the Maoist leaders and cadres on the murder of journalist. It is again his despotic view that has agitated the rights bodies, rights defenders and media persons across the country.

Freedom Forum expresses solidarity to the campaign of the agitated journalists and rights defenders against PM Bhattarai's hangover of war.