Reporters Without Borders has voiced its outrage at the torture by soldiers of a young journalist, who has since been detained in Kathmandu under the anti-terrorist law.
The worldwide press freedom organisation called for Chandra Giri, 23, of the weekly Shram to be freed from custody and for those responsible for the torture to be punished, in a letter to Prime Minister and Defence Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.
The organisation said it learned of the torture just as Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was winding up a visit to Nepal, on 26 January 2005, saying that "those responsible for human rights violations in Nepal will not go unpunished."
"The Royal Nepalese Army must absolutely stop secretly holding and torturing journalists in complete impunity", Reporters Without Borders said in its letter to the prime minister.
Reporters Without Borders reminded him that his country has ratified the UN Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments, that came into effect in June 1987 and that Article 2 stipulates that, "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."
Giri was moved on 19 January 2005 to Kathmandu central prison, after 20 days in secret detention. His brother, Yamulal Giri, who was able to visit him, told Reporters Without Borders that he had been "tortured". Soldiers were seeking information from him about his sources and contacts with Maoist leaders. He was beaten, given electric shocks and sprayed with freezing water. "I am still alive after several deaths," the journalist told his brother.
Giri was abducted by the army on 30 December 2004, in Kathmandu. He was moved from one barracks to another over the next 20 days. He is now being held under the anti-terrorist law that allows the government to hold him without trial for six months.
The journalist also works for the weeklies Halchal and Economic Post, published in the capital.
In November 2002, Reporters Without Borders and the Nepalese human rights organisation INSEC sent a report to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights asking for intervention because of a massive deterioration in freedoms, including the systematic use of torture by the armed forces.