Saturday, February 26, 2005

RSF: Three Journalists Released, Another One Arrested

From Reporters Without Borders/Reporters Sans Frontieres

Reporters Without Borders repeated an appeal for the release of the nine journalists still imprisoned in Nepal after three journalists were released on 25 February.

The authorities freed Bishnu Nishthuri, Secretary General of the Nepalese Federation of Journalists, after 21 days imprisonment; Khem Bhandari, editor of the daily Abhiyan, and Sujeeb Bajracharya, editor of the daily City Times. Seven public figures, including a former minister and an ex-ambassador, were released on the order of Baman Prasad Neupane, head of the Kathmandu district administrative office.

Khem Bhandari, detained since 16 February, was sentenced by the authorities in Kanchanpur district in the east of the country, to pay a fine of 5,000 rupees (50 euros) for infringing the press law.

The previous day, Dipin Rai, editor of the regional weekly Mukti Aawaj and local official for the Federation of Nepalese Journalists, was arrested at his home by security forces in Jhapa, east of the country. All publications in the Jhapa district were closed on 1 February but Dipin Rai had republished his weekly on 22 February. The journalist has been held since 23 February at the barracks of the Chaar Aali battalion in Jhapa.

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