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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 November 2005, 16:50 GMT
Banned Nepal station back on air
Rebel leader Prachanda
Prachanda gave the BBC his first ever radio interview
A Nepalese radio station is back on air, a day after the government closed it to stop it relaying a BBC interview with Maoist rebel leader Prachanda.

The Supreme Court said Tuesday's ruling was an interim order. A final verdict on Radio Sagarmatha is due next week.

The station resumed broadcasts immediately, but has not relayed any material from the BBC's Nepali service.

Police raided Radio Sagarmatha late on Sunday and arrested five staff after it announced it would air the interview.

We hope we will win the case when the court gives a final judgement
Sagarmatha head Lakshman Upreti

At Tuesday's hearing the Supreme Court ordered the government to justify its actions.

The government accuses the station (whose name means Mount Everest in Nepali) of promoting terrorism.

Websites blocked

Sunday's closure is being seen as part of a crackdown on the media since King Gyanendra seized power in February.

King Gyanendra
King Gyanendra seized direct power in February

The government introduced a controversial media law two months ago, banning news broadcasts on FM radio.

Following Sunday's raid, the BBC News website was inaccessible in Nepal for a period but became available again on Monday.

Access to the BBC Nepali service website remains blocked.

Prachanda's interview with the BBC was his first ever on radio.

The Maoist leader said the rebels may reconsider opposition to the monarchy if the king held free elections for a constituent assembly.

More than 12,000 people have died in conflict in Nepal since the rebels began their fight for a republic in 1995.


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Listen to the interview in English


Listen to the interview in Nepalese



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