Mastermind convicted in 2009 murder of Nepali journalist Uma Singh

Kathmandu, April 23, 2015–The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the conviction and sentencing on Wednesday of the mastermind in the 2009 murder of journalist Uma Singh. A court in the district of Dhanusha convicted Umesh Yadav of ordering Singh’s murder and sentenced him to life in prison, according to local news reports.

“The conviction of the mastermind in Uma Singh’s murder is a step toward addressing the climate of impunity in Nepal,” said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Bob Dietz from New York. “We hope that six years on, Singh’s family and colleagues can find solace in the scales of justice that tipped in favor of accountability and rule of law.”

Singh, a reporter for Janakpur Today and Radio Today, was stabbed to death in her home in Janakpur on January 11, 2009, according to news reports. Police arrested Yadav, a former Maoist, in September 2013 for ordering Singh’s murder. Two others were sentenced to life terms in 2011 in connection with her killing. The Federation of Nepali Journalists found that Singh’s murder was related to her work. The journalist had been very critical of Maoists in her region and had reported on alleged land expropriation by Maoists, according to reports.

In 90 percent of all murder cases, there has been total impunity–no arrests, no prosecutions, no convictions, CPJ research shows. In dozens of cases around the world, masterminds have eluded arrest and investigations have failed to go beyond lower-level suspects, according to CPJ research. While Nepal in 2013 dropped off CPJ’s Impunity Index–which spotlights countries where journalists are slain and the killers go free–threats and violence against journalists continue, CPJ research shows.

  • For more data and analysis on Nepal, visit CPJ’s Nepal page here.