Nepal | May 29, 2020

Lamichhane, two others freed

Tilakram Rimal
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Chitwan, August 26

TV host Rabi Lamichhane and two others, who were arrested and kept in custody on the charge of abetting the suicide of journalist Salikram Pudasaini, were freed today.

While Lamichhane and Yuvaraj Kandel posted bail of Rs 500,000 and Rs 300,000 respectively as per the order of Chitwan District Court, Asmita Karki was freed on normal date.

According to court registrar Rudramani Giri, a single bench of District Judge HemantaRawal issued the release order.

“The order was issued on the basis of evidence at hand, and though they’re free now, the court has the witnesses and the statements needed to carry out the remaining proceedings,” Giri said.

Further, the court has also proscribed Lamichhane and Kandel from speaking publicly or running any TV programme related to the Pudasaini suicide case given the fact that the case is under consideration in a court of law.

Similarly, in case the two need to go abroad for treatment, they will have to seek prior written permission of the court.

After Lamichhane’s and Kandel’s statements were recorded today, both prosecutors and defence lawyers presented their arguments. Karki’s statement was recorded yesterday.

As per the Muluki Aparadh Sanhita (criminal code), a suicide incitement case has been filed against the three. If convicted, the accused might face five years in prison and pay up to Rs 50,000 in fine.

Journalist Pudasaini was found hanging in a hotel in Narayangadh on August 5. As the suicide, which was video recorded on his mobile phone before he killed himself, had named the trio as the reason behind his decision to terminate his life, police had picked them up and filed an incitement to suicide case.

As demonstration in favour of Lamichhane ramped up, the local administration banned gatherings or movement of more than five people and declared the area near the court and the police office prohibited zones.

Despite the strict security, Lamichhane’s supporters came out to the street and demonstrated at the major chowks today. They vandalised four trucks on Bypass Road. Though the demonstrators had tried to break into the prohibited zone, they were prevented.

Protesters also staged rallies at Chaubiskothi, Hakimchowk, Dursanchar Road, RijalChowk and other places. There were frequent clashes between demonstrators and police near the prohibited zone.

Chitwan DPO SP Dan BahadurMalla said police had to fire a few rounds of tear gas to take the crowd under control.

A version of this article appears in print on August 27, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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