The Amnesty International (AI) has expressed concern over the death of journalist Maheshwar Pahari in custody, demanding independent investigation into the case.
In a statement today the AI called upon the Nepal government to “order an independent and impartial investigation into Pahari’s death, his treatment in custody, and allegations that prison authorities repeatedly refused requests for proper medical treatment”.
The rights watchdog also urged the authorities to provide compensation to Pahari’s family if an investigation finds that he died due to negligence or ill-treatment.
“There have been conflicting reports as to the nature of Maheshwar Pahari’s illness. It has been reported that prison authorities had repeatedly refused requests for him to be moved to Kathmandu for treatment, and had refused to let his friends and colleagues see him,” the AI statement further said.
Pahari, 30, who was working for a Pokhara-based newspaper, Rastriya Swabhiman Weekly, was arrested by a group of uniformed soldiers on 2 January 2004 in Khorako Mukh village, in Lwang Ghalel VDC in Kaski district.
Quoting a local human rights organisation the Amnesty said Pahari was probably tortured in custody and that he was reportedly moved to the western regional hospital in Pokhara a week before he died.
“The human rights situation deteriorated further after the king seized executive power on 1 February 2005, with the security forces exercising virtually unchecked power. Many journalists have been arrested and detained without trial, or have "disappeared", at the hands of the security forces,” the AI pointed out in its statement.
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