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  HOME | World (Click here for more)

Judge: Ex-Speaker of Nepal Parliament in Preventive Custody over Rape Charge

KATHMANDU Ė A Kathmandu district court on Monday ordered the preventive detention of the former speaker of Nepalís parliament over allegations of attempted rape.

Krishna Bahadur Mahara resigned as speaker of Nepalís lower house following an allegation that he assaulted and raped a female staffer.

Chief Judge Sudarshan Raj Pandey decided to send Mahara to Dillibazar prison to remain in judicial custody until the court issues a final verdict, courthouse official Gyan Bahadur Karki told Efe.

The alleged victim Roshani Shahi, a worker from the Federal Parliament Secretariat, filed a complaint on 4 October asserting that Mahara tried to assault her on 29 September in her apartment in Kathmandu.

The allegation was made in a video released by the online news portal Hamro Kura.

Shahi said she had known Mahara for years and that he had behaved indecently towards her in the past as well.

The ex-speaker was arrested on 6 October but has spent almost all that time in the hospital due to health problems.

The politician has more than a dozen lawyers working on his defense.

This is the first arrest of a senior official in Nepal on an accusation of sexual abuse.

The Nepal Communist Party asked Mahara, one of its main leaders, to step down after an emergency meeting of the formation.

Mahara was elected as speaker of the lower house last year, after the November 2017 elections thanks to a coalition of communist parties.

The NCP was born out of a merger of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) with the Naya Shakti Party.

Mahara was an influential Maoist leader during the 10-year-long civil war that started in 1996. The Maoists entered into a United Nations-monitored peace accord in 2006, and joined mainstream politics, ending their armed revolt.

He has previously served as deputy prime minister, information minister, and home minister.

If convicted, Mahara could face a sentence of up to seven years in prison.

 

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