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Nepal to expel detained Canadian software engineer over critical tweets

Officials said Robert Penner violated the terms of his visa, which say he cannot become involved in any activities against Nepal or its government


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KATHMANDU, Nepal—Nepal has ordered a Canadian man to leave the country within two days for posting messages on social media that could disturb social harmony, officials said Tuesday.

Home Ministry official Yadav Koirala said Robert Penner’s work visa was revoked because a report prepared by authorities suggested his critical posts on Twitter threatened national unity.

“He was not abiding by our laws and was investigated for suspicious activities,” Koirala said.

Penner, who has worked for a software company in Nepal for three years, was detained on May 2 for questioning. He was picked up by police from his office and spent the night in detention. The government made the decision to expel him late Tuesday. Koirala said he was released from detention and handed over to a local family friend on the condition that he leaves the country in two days.

Penner has criticized the new constitution adopted last September and the government’s handling of violent ethnic protests.

Members of the Madhesi minority have opposed the constitution, saying it gave them a small state that did not cover their population. Protests by the group left more than 50 people dead and blocked the border with India, creating severe shortages of fuel and medicines all over Nepal.

Kedar Neupane, head of Nepal’s Immigration Department, said Penner had violated the terms of his visa, which say he cannot become involved in any activities against Nepal or its government and will be expelled if found doing such activities.

Penner could not be reached for comment.

“Nepal Immigration released me after 26 hours in custody, cancelled my working visa and gave me 2 days to leave Nepal. Thanks to all supporters,” Penner said on Twitter.


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