Nepal seeks help from Interpol to find fugitive cricket star

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Nepalese cricket ace Sandeep Lamichhane is believed to be in the Caribbean – Copyright AFP/Prakash SINGH Archive

Nepalese police have sought help from Interpol in locating the country’s fugitive suspended national cricket captain, they said on Tuesday.

A court in Nepal issued an arrest warrant for Sandeep Lamichhane earlier this month following an allegation of rape by a 17-year-old girl.

But the player who spun his legs is believed to have stayed in the Caribbean, where he was playing in a tournament.

Interpol issued a “diffusion” notice against him on Sunday asking member countries for their cooperation in locating him, Nepalese police spokesman Tek Prasad Rai told AFP.

“We hope this will help Lamichhane’s arrest for the investigation of a rape allegation case against him,” he said.

Lamichhane had pledged on social media Sunday to return home “as soon as possible” to fight the allegation.

Without disclosing his whereabouts, the 22-year-old posted on Facebook that he was in “isolation” due to his mental and physical condition, saying the arrest warrant had “mentally disturbed” me.

Lamichhane had been a poster boy for Nepal’s mountain cricket boom, gaining international status one day in 2018.

His big break came when the Delhi Capitals signed him to the money-making Indian Premier League in 2018, and he has been Nepal’s most wanted cricketer ever since.

After the arrest warrant was issued, he was suspended as captain of the national team and retired from the Caribbean Premier League, where he played for the Jamaica Tallawahs.

According to police, some 2,300 rape cases were reported in Nepal in the last fiscal year, but rights workers say far more assaults go unreported.

Only a handful of women in Nepal have spoken out during the #MeToo movement, and those accused have faced little or no repercussions for the accusations.

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