Nepali cricket captain Sandeep Lamichhane denied charges on Friday that he raped a 17-year-old girl and said he would go home to challenge his case. A Nepalese court has issued a warrant for the arrest of the 22-year-old, who plays in the Caribbean Premier League, and has been suspended from his leadership position. Earlier this week, the teenage girl and her guardian filed a complaint against the player for raping her in a hotel room in Kathmandu last month after they met and dated.
In a statement on his social media channels, Lamichhane wrote: “I am INNOCENT and continue to believe fully in the respectable laws of Nepal.
“I have decided to say goodbye to CPL and return to my country in a few days.
— Sandeep Lamichhane (@Sandeep25) September 9, 2022
“I am ready to face all these baseless accusations. May justice be served for the innocent and proper investigation of all involved.
“I hope the law acts equally for everyone.”
Lamichhane currently plays for Jamaica Tallawahs in the Caribbean Premier League which is held in the West Indies.
Lamichhane is a poster boy for the rise of cricket in Nepal, which gained one-day international status in 2018 but is still a long way from a World Cup.
The leg spinner’s big break came when he was captured by the Delhi Capitals for the lucrative Indian Premier League in 2018 and since then he has been the most sought after Nepali cricketer in T20 international competitions.
The charges against him come after popular Nepalese actor Paul Shah was convicted this week of sexual misconduct with a minor.
He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and had to pay his victim compensation.
About 2,300 cases of rape were reported in Nepal in the past fiscal year, police say, but human rights workers say many more attacks go unreported.
Only a handful of women in Nepal spoke out during the #MeToo movement, and the accused have suffered little or no repercussions from the allegations.
In May, hundreds protested in Kathmandu for tougher laws and enforcement in sexual assault cases after an aspiring model posted a series of TikTok videos about abuse when she was a teenager.
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