Nepal asks Canadian to leave over social media posts

Robert Penner given marching orders after arrest for criticising government decisions including journalist’s detention.

nepal police
There was no provision for Penner to appeal, according to the immigration department head [Getty Images]

A Canadian living and working in Nepal has been ordered to leave the country within two days after criticising the government on social media, according to a Nepali official.

Robert Penner, a computer programmer working for CloudFactory, an outsourcing company, was arrested at his office on Monday and taken to the immigration department for questioning.

He criticised the Nepal government on social media during unrest that followed the passing of Nepal’s constitution last year and also denounced the recent arrest and detention of Kanak Mani Dixit, a prominent journalist and civil rights activist.

Dixit was released from detention on Monday on the orders of the Supreme Court.

“Robert Penner must leave Nepal voluntarily within two days,” Kedar Neupane, director general of the Department of Immigration, told Reuters news agency.

“If he fails to leave within this timeframe, he will be considered as staying here illegally.”

Neupane said there was no provision for Penner to appeal against the decision but the Canadian’s legal representative said his client had broken no laws and would appeal against the decision.

“The decision was made based only on his tweets, but such allegations cannot be substantiated just by his tweets and personal opinions,” he told AFP news agency.

“There is no evidence of any crime committed linked to what he has said.”

The deportation order was issued after government officials received numerous complaints about tweets and online writings that Penner had posted, said Neupane.

He declined to elaborate on exactly who and how many had complained.

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Source: Al Jazeera