Journalist released from detention amid further arrests

New York, September 19, 2003—Sitaram Baral, the assistant editor of the weekly Janaastha, was released from detention by Nepalese security forces on Wednesday, September 17, according to local journalists. Four days earlier, however, local sources told CPJ that security forces arrested another journalist, Premnath Joshi, editor of the monthly English-language magazine Shangrila Voice.

Baral was abducted after leaving his house in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, to conduct an interview on Saturday, September 13. During his detention, local sources allege that Baral was blindfolded and subjected to interrogations and “mental and physical torture.” He is currently in the hospital.

In addition to Joshi, at least two other journalists remain in detention: Subhashankar Kandel, editor of the weekly Janadharana, was arrested by plainclothes security forces on September 9; and Ramahari Chaulugain, a reporter with the weekly Sanghu, was kidnapped on August 28 by an unknown group that is suspected to have links to government forces.

No known charges have been filed against any of the three journalists, all of whose whereabouts are unknown.

For more information on the wave of violence against journalists in Nepal, see CPJ’s September 15 alert.