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Nepal’s top cricket star has his 8-year sentence for rape thrown out and is cleared of all charges

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A high court in Nepal on Wednesday overturned an eight-year prison sentence for rape for the country’s star cricket player and former captain of the national team, and cleared him of all charges.

A two-judge panel of the Patan High Court ruled that Sandeep Lamichhane’s sentence by Kathmandu District Court from January be thrown out.

The victim, whose identity has been kept confidential, said she was sexually assaulted on Aug. 21, 2022. Lamichhane was arrested soon afterward and spent time in jail before being allowed out on bail while the case was heard in court.

At the time, Lamichhane was also ordered to pay 300,000 rupees ($2,250) as a fine and another 200,000 rupees ($1,500) to the victim as compensation.

On Wednesday, dozens of Lamichhane’s fans gathered outside the court building celebrating the decision while riot police guarded the road leading to the court area to prevent them from entering.