Friday, 21 June, 2024, Reg No- 06
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Nepals ex-cricket captain acquitted of rape on appeal

Published : Thursday, 16 May, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 119

KATHMANDU, MAY 15: Nepali cricket star Sandeep Lamichhane had his eight-year jail sentence for rape quashed on appeal on Wednesday after the former national captain challenged his conviction.

Lamichhane was once the poster boy for cricket in Nepal and his onfield success as a leg-spinner dramatically boosted the sports profile in the Himalayan republic.

He was accused of raping a young woman in a Kathmandu hotel in 2022 but was freed on bail and returned to the team to compete in international tournaments while his lengthy trial dragged on.

The 23-year-old was convicted of rape late last year and sentenced in January but remained at liberty after challenging the verdict.

"Sandeep Lamichhane has been acquitted," Patan High Court spokesman Bimal Parajuli told AFP.

Lamichhane was suspended by Nepals cricket board after the initial verdict.

He has consistently denied the charge against him and enjoyed strong public support despite the accusation.

"I am innocent and I will be indebted to those who believe and sympathize with my innocence," Lamichhane posted on Facebook this month.

Lamichhane was in court to hear the verdict and dozens of fans cheered and celebrated outside after it was announced.

"We all know he is innocent so they have gathered here and united for his justice," said 21-year-old fan Asmita Chettri.
 
In 2022, when an arrest warrant in the case was first issued, Lamichhane initially failed to return from Jamaica, where he was playing in the Caribbean Premier League.

He was dismissed as national captain and arrested but Nepal lifted his playing ban after he was freed on bail.  This allowed him to remain on the national team, including for the World Cup qualifiers and the 2023 Asia Cup.    —AFP







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