Sandeep Lamichhane, the fugitive cricketer, returned to Nepal on Thursday to face rape charges nearly a month after an arrest warrant was issued.

Lamichhane, who denies the charges, was immediately arrested, according to Dinesh Raj Mainali, a spokesperson for Kathmandu district police.

Lamichhane was suspended as Nepal’s cricket captain on September 8 after a court in the country issued an arrest warrant.

It came after a 17-year-old accused the 22-year-old of raping her in a Kathmandu hotel room in August.

Lamichhane did not return to Nepal after playing in the Caribbean Premier League in Jamaica.

He has become a symbol of the rise of cricket in mountainous Nepal, which was granted one-day international status by the world governing body in 2018.

The leg spinner got his big break in 2018 when he was signed by the Delhi Capitals for the lucrative Indian Premier League.

Since then, he has been the most in-demand Nepali cricketer in international Twenty20 leagues.

Lamichhane issued a statement on social media last month reiterating that the allegations against him were false and defending his decision not to return to Nepal.

“The news that an arrest warrant had been issued against me… caused me mental distress. I couldn’t decide what to do or what not to do “He wrote something.

“My health is gradually improving, and I intend to return to Nepal as soon as possible to fight back (against the allegations).”

“My health is gradually improving, and I intend to return to Nepal as soon as possible to fight back (against the allegations).”

Soon after, Nepali police said they had approached Interpol with a “diffusion” notice, asking member countries for assistance in bringing Lamichhane back to Nepal to face charges.

According to police, approximately 2,300 rape cases were reported in Nepal in the previous fiscal year, but rights activists claim that many more assaults go unreported.

Only a few women in Nepal spoke out during the #MeToo movement, and the accused have faced little or no consequences as a result of the allegations.

Lamichhane’s allegations follow the recent conviction of popular Nepali actor Paul Shah for sexual misconduct with a minor.

He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and ordered to compensate his victim.

After an aspiring model posted a series of TikTok videos detailing abuse as a teenager, hundreds protested in Kathmandu in May for better laws and enforcement in cases of sexual violence.

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