KATMANDU–A Nepalese court jailed five former Maoist rebels on Sunday over the torture and killing of a journalist, lawyers said, in the first such ruling for crimes committed during the country’s civil war. The men, all middle-ranking cadres, were convicted and sentenced to up to two years in prison over the abduction and murder in 2004 of Dekendra Raj Thapa, a radio reporter and human rights activist. Investigations have showed that Thapa was repeatedly beaten unconscious before being buried alive during the decade-long conflict that ended in 2006.
Rights activists slammed the sentence as too lenient, saying it set a discouraging precedent for victims and their relatives who had been hoping for harder justice from the country’s criminal courts. Four other former Maoists accused in the case are still on the run.