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Nepal 26 June 2002

The pro-Maoist journalist Krishna Sen dies under torture

"The Nepalese government, which obstinately refuses to heed human rights organisations, has allowed a generalised development of torture against journalists and human rights militants. The death of a journalist under torture, even if the latter supported the Maoist movement, can in no way be justified by antiterrorist war", affirmed Robert Ménard, General Secretary of Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans Frontières) in a letter sent to the Nepalese Prime Minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba. RSF said it was very shocked by the death of Krishna Sen. "We ask you to order the security forces to cease their acts of torture. We also ask you to swiftly carry out an investigation into the circumstances of this homicide", added Robert Ménard.

According to information gathered by Reporters Without Borders, Krishna Sen, editor of the pro-Maoist newspaper Janadisha and former manager of the weekly Janadesh, died under torture last week in a detention centre of the Nepalese security forces. His body was handed over to his family for cremation but the authorities did not supply any information on the reasons for the death. According to several sources in Kathmandu, the journalist was tortured to make him confess his ties to the Maoist movement and his contacts with the Maoist leaders. He was in good health before his arrest on 20 May 2002 in a house in suburban Kathmandu. Krishna Sen who was, according to the police, one of the operatives of the Nepalese Communist Party (Maoist) for the Kathmandu region, was detained in an unknown place for nearly a month.

Krishna Sen had been released on 15 March 2001 following a ruling by the Supreme Court after more than two years detention. The authorities accused him in particular of having published in his pro-Maoist newspaper an interview of the leader of the rebel movement, Baburam Bhattarai.

Reporters Without Borders published its fact-finding mission’s report on the Consequences of the State of Emergency and of the Fight Against "Maoist Terrorism" Attacks on Freedom of the Press, on 16 April 2002. You can read the report on the RSF web site at www.rsf.org.




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