New York, July 11, 2005
—Maoist rebels on Saturday released Som Sharma, a reporter in eastern Nepal’s Ilam district who was abducted from his home nearly two months ago. Maoist leaders also called off the house arrest of Ilam-based reporter Umesh Gurung, calling their actions against him a “mistake,” according to local news reports
Sharma, a reporter for the weekly Aankha
, had been in Maoist custody since May 13. Sharma’s release followed negotiations on his behalf by the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ), who sent a delegation to meet with local Maoist leaders. FNJ central committee member Purna Basnet told The Associated Press that Sharma was targeted in response to his critical reporting on Maoist activities in the area.