Comedian Pranesh Gautam released at last

Published On: June 17, 2019 03:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, June 17: Following an order of the Kathmandu District Court, police on Sunday released standup comedian Pranesh Gautam, 25. He was arrested a few days ago on the charge of posting a 'foul-mouthed' review of the movie Bir Bikram 2 on Youtube.

Gautam who was released without bail last Thursday night was rearrested on Friday. Police had charged him with cybercrime for his sarcastic review of the movie. Gautam was kept under judicial custody after a case was filed against him at Kathmandu District Court under the Electronic Transaction Act by filmmaker Milan Chamling.

After filing the case, the hearing had been scheduled for last Friday but the case could not proceed due to the government lawyers' absence and it was postponed for Sunday.

“The court has released him without bail,” Gautam's close friend and administrator of Meme Nepal Adarsha Mishra told Republica, adding, “He is already home by now.”

Comedian duo Gautam and Mishra were arrested on June 7 and were sent to judicial custody after Chamling, the director of the movie, filed a case of extortion against the comedian and popular Facebook page Meme Nepal. Comedian Gautam alleged that the movie was a copy of Bollywood blockbuster Sholay.

Director Chamling filed a complaint with the police accusing Gautam with character assassination.

According to the Film Critics Society of Nepal, this was Gautam's 'abstract way' of reviewing a movie. After receiving threat from Chamling, Meme Nepal has removed the video from YouTube.

After receiving complain, police filed a case against Pranesh charging him with 'cybercrime'. The Nepali public took to the streets and used social media platforms to protest the arrest saying that it was an attempt to curtail the freedom of expression.

People started stating that this was a misuse of administration and legal authority, creating a huge public pressure. This led Gautam to be released in general date on Thursday.

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