Tej Narayan Sapkota

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Sapkota, a former editor of the newspaper Yojana, was seized by two plainclothes security forces personnel from the Sarbottam printing press office in Kathmandu, according to Amnesty International. He was kept in police custody until his transfer to jail.

Sapkota is charged with murder under the controversial Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Ordinance (TADO). The ordinance allows suspects to be held without charge or trial for renewable periods of six months. Sapkota’s case has come up for hearing eight times and the government has failed to present its evidence on each occasion. Sapkota strongly denies the murder charge against him.

A delegation of CPJ and Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) representatives visited Sapkota in October 2005 in Nakkhu jail on the outskirts of Kathmandu. When the delegation inquired about Sapkota at the prison gate, the chief guard replied, “Oh, you mean the terrorist.”

Through a wire mesh barrier, Sapkota said that he had been blindfolded for five consecutive months following his arrest, and was beaten every day. His treatment improved when he was transferred to jail, he said. He was well-fed, received frequent medical attention, and was allowed access to a lawyer and communication with human rights activists and colleagues.

Sapkota and his lawyer said that they believe that authorities intend to hold him indefinitely under TADO. FNJ believes that Sapkota is being held to obtain information on Maoist sources.