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Canadian to leave Nepal after work visa revoked over social media posts

A Canadian national whose work visa was revoked by the Nepal government over his social media posts will leave the country on Thursday night after the Supreme Court failed to hear his petition challenging the move.

world Updated: May 05, 2016 19:37 IST
Utpal Parashar
Though Nepal’s new Constitution assures freedom of speech and expression, the authorities decided to revoke Penner’s visa as they felt his social media posts could affect “national unity”.
Though Nepal’s new Constitution assures freedom of speech and expression, the authorities decided to revoke Penner’s visa as they felt his social media posts could affect “national unity”.(Shutterstock)

A Canadian national whose work visa was revoked by the Nepal government over his social media posts will leave the country on Thursday night after the Supreme Court failed to hear his petition challenging the move.

The government revoked Robert Penner’s visa on Tuesday and asked him to leave within two days after a complaint was filed with the department of immigration regarding his posts on social media related to issues in Nepal.

Penner filed a petition challenging the move in Supreme Court, which was unable to take up the case on Thursday.

“The Supreme Court had other urgent cases today and was unable to hear mine. I must leave Nepal tonight,” the software solutions provider tweeted.

Though Nepal’s new Constitution assures freedom of speech and expression, the authorities decided to revoke Penner’s visa as they felt his social media posts could affect “national unity”.

Penner posted comments that were critical of the new Constitution and the government’s handling of protests against it in Madhes that resulted in more than 50 deaths. He also questioned the recent arrest of journalist Kanak Mani Dixit on corruption charges.

The Canadian’s lawyer Dipendra Jha tweeted the Supreme Court would hear the petition on Friday and hoped it would rule in Penner’s favour, allowing him to return to Nepal.