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Thursday, 27 June, 2002, 13:26 GMT 14:26 UK
Nepal journalist 'tortured to death'
Maoist meeting
Mr Sen was accused of supporting the Maoists
A human rights group has called on the Nepalese Government to investigate the case of a journalist who reportedly died under torture by the security forces.


We ask you to order the security forces to cease their acts of torture

Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans Frontières) says that Krishna Sen, editor of the pro-Maoist newspaper Janadisha, died last week after being taken into detention in May.

RSF said Mr Sen had been tortured to force him to confess to contacts with rebel leaders and that his body was handed over to his family for cremation.

There has been no firm reaction from the government to Mr Sen's death nor to the anger his death appears to have generated.

Maoist rebels have been fighting to overthrow Nepal's monarchy for the past six years.

Maoist support

In a letter to the Nepalese Prime Minster Sher Bahadur Deuba, RSF General Secretary Robert Ménard says the organisation was very shocked by reports of Mr Sen's death.

Nepal's Prime Minister
The appeal was sent to Prime Minister Deuba

"The death of a journalist under torture, even if the latter supported the Maoist movement, can in no way be justified by antiterrorist war", he says.

The BBC's Daniel Lak in Kathmandu says the case has brought about rare unity among Nepal's various journalists' groups and newspapers.

He says even journalists traditionally close to the government are demanding to know what happened to this veteran pro-Maoist editor, and how he died.

The Federation of Nepalese Journalists has already called on the government to give information about Mr Sen.

The federation's chairman, Bishnu Nisthuri, said government officials had been avoiding them.

Krishna Sen was released from two years' detention in March last year.

The authorities jailed him on charges of having published an interview with the leader of the rebel movement, Baburam Bhattarai.

Rights concerns

The human rights group Amnesty International has voiced concern that Nepal is facing a human rights crisis because of the escalating conflict between the government and the rebels.

In a report issued in April, it said both sides engaged in abductions, torture and unlawful killing.

The situation has become particularly bad after a state of emergency was imposed in November, restricting freedom of expression.

Some 4,000 people are believed to have been killed in the insurgency since it began.

Background to Nepal's Maoist war

Analysis

Eyewitness

Background:

BBC NEPALI SERVICE
See also:

19 Jun 02 | South Asia
19 Jun 02 | South Asia
14 Jun 02 | South Asia
27 May 02 | South Asia
23 Apr 02 | Country profiles
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