Nepal enlists Interpol’s help to locate fugitive cricket star

Nepalese police have asked Interpol for help to locate the country’s fugitive, suspended national cricket captain, it said on Tuesday.

A Nepalese court issued an arrest warrant for Sandeep Lamichhane earlier this month after a 17-year-old girl was raped.

But the leg spinner is said to have stayed in the Caribbean, where he competed in a tournament.

Interpol on Sunday issued a “diffusion” notice against him, asking member countries to cooperate in finding him, Nepalese police spokesman Tek Prasad Rai told AFP.

“We hope this will assist in the arrest of Lamichhane for an investigation into a rape case against him,” he said.

Lamichhane had vowed on social media on Sunday to return home “as soon as possible” to combat the allegations.

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

Lamichhane was a poster child for the rise of cricket in mountainous Nepal, achieving international status for a day in 2018.

His big break came when he was signed by the Delhi Capitals for the money-hungry Indian Premier League in 2018 and he has been Nepal’s most in-demand cricketer ever since.

After the 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.

About 2,300 cases of rape were reported in Nepal in the last fiscal year, according to police, but human rights activists say many more abuses go unreported.

Only a handful of women in Nepal have spoken out during the #MeToo movement, and the accused have received little or no repercussion on the allegations.