Sunday, September 2, 2007

Mystery surrounds Bhutan journalist's arrest

By: TP Mishra

The whereabouts of Shantiram Acharya, who, it’s claimed, has been working as a reporter for a number of newspapers operating in the Bhutanese refugee camps in Nepal, is still unknown.

Acharya was arrested on January 16, 2007, on the charge of being a Maoist militant. His case was initially reported eight days later on January 24 by Kuensel, the state-owned website.

The Bhutan Chapter of Third World Media Network (TWMN) investigated and filed a report on Media Helping Media expressing deep concern about Acharya’s arrest and disappearance.

Devi Acharya, a brother of the missing journalist, says the only hope is for international human rights organisations to probe his brother’s detention.

Speaking by telephone with a TWMN-Bhutan representative, Devi Acharya said the family feared for Shantiram Acharya's safety.

“The state terrorizing situation inside Bhutan is extremely risky. I do not know whether my brother is inside a cruel Bhutanese jail or even whether he is still alive.”

The Communist Party of Bhutan (CPB-MLM) has already stated that Shantiram Acharya was not affiliated to their party.

TWMN-Bhutan called on international media freedom and human rights groups to investigate further.

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