Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) today condemned the killing of pro-Maoist journalist Binod Sajana Chaudhary on 27 September in western Nepal, noting that initial reports suggested he was summarily executed by security forces.
In a letter to Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa, the organisation called on the government to establish the circumstances of his death and stressed that such behaviour by the security forces could in no way be justified by the fact that he used to write for a Maoist newspaper. Journalists are protected by the Geneva Conventions in wartime, like the rest of the civilian population, the organisation said.
At the time of his death, Chaudhary was a contributor to the weekly Nepalgunj Express in the western district of Kailali. He used to write for the Maoist weekly Janadesh, which no longer exists.
Chaudhary was reported shot dead at point-blank range along with a Maoist activist. The daily Nepal Samacharpatra quoted Maoist rebel sources as alleging that he was shot by members of the security forces in civilian dress after showing his identity card. He had been on his way on Kegaun in search of information at the time. The Maoist sources said he was not armed.
Local security sources told the press that Chaudhary and the Maoist activist were killed in an armed clash.
Maoist rebels killed Gyanendra Khadka, a journalist with the government news agency RSS, in the Sindhupalchok district northeast of Kathmandu on 7 September by slitting his throat. Journalists in Nepal have again been the target of violence, kidnapping, arrests and threats since the Maoist party CNP-M announced an end to the cease-fire on 27 August.