Nepal cricketer Lamichhane’s rape conviction overturned

Nepal cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane has been cleared of raping an 18-year-old woman after a hearing at an appeal court.

The 23-year-old was found guilty of the charge in December 2023 and sentenced to eight years in prison in January 2024.

But the Patan High Court acquitted Lamichhane on Wednesday after hearing his appeal in the Nepalese city of Lalitpur.

“He had to be cleared and the high court has set him free. He was not guilty,” Sabita Bhadari Baral, a lawyer for the player, told Reuters, external.

Leg-spinner Lamichhane had been the face of cricket in Nepal, and had played in Australia’s Big Bash and the Indian Premier League before his arrest.

He was suspended as Nepal captain in September 2022 following the rape accusations.

Lamichhane made a controversial return to the Nepal side in February 2023 following his release on bail for their matches against Scotland and Namibia.

His return was met with protests, and players from both opposition nations refused to shake his hand.