SEPTEMBER 19, 2005
Posted October 11, 2005

Harihar Singh Rathour, Kathmandu Post, and Kantipur

Authorities detained Harihar Singh Rathour, correspondent for the Kathmandu Post and Kantipur, without charge in the mid-western district of Dailekh. Authorities threatened to hold him under the Terrorist and Destructive Activities (Control and Punishment) Ordinance for allegedly collaborating with Maoist rebels. The ordinance allows for detention without trial for renewable periods of up to 90 days. The Kathmandu Post quoted local battalion commander Col. Nainaraj Dahal as saying, “We will initiate action against Rathour.”

Rathour told the Associated Press that a group of 15 local journalists planned to leave the region because of harassment in retaliation for their reporting. “Because we refused to censor news about the army’s activities, we were being harassed and even threatened. So all of us decided to flee to safe areas,” he said. Police detained Rathour and the others briefly on September 18 but most were able to leave the area later. Rathour was re-arrested on September 19.

On September 16, army spokesman Brig. Gen. Deepak Gurung accused Rathour of receiving payment from the Maoists. Rathour denied the allegation and said that he was targeted because of his reporting on the army, the Web site Nepalnews reported. Rathour and the others have been under pressure from officials since July when they reported that the army had recruited children as informants. Rathour’s report in the Kathmandu Post prompted angry denials from army officials.