Freedom Forum is sharing that Toranraj Poudel aka Madhu has been released from custody on bail with FF’s legal support. On May 14, Toran raj Paudel was arrested for posting a sarcastic cartoon image featuring political leaders on his social media page. He was released after 11 days on custody. He was arrested from Sindhuli. Sindhuli lies in Bagmati province in Nepal.

21-year-old Poudel was charged under the Electronic Transaction Act, 2063. Poudel was arrested after Kathmandu District Court issued arrest order on May 10 following Metropolitan Police Circle, Kathmandu’s complaint at the court. The next proceeding is due for the 2nd of July, 2020.

A statement issued by Cyber Bureau of Police accused Poudel of mutilating photos of Nepal’s Prime Minister including other political figures and disturbing public morality spreading hoax in social media sites.

Poudel states that he did not create the image by himself; he merely shared the post as he found it satirically humorous.

Dikchya Raut, FF’s legal officer says, it is surprising that the investigation has not been done on the creator of the image but one among the thousands who shared it. This shows the direct intention of the government to shut down the voices of people having different political opinions or affiliations by holding him accused of a criminal charge.

Freedom Forum is concerned over the arrest of social media users being done which is a direct violation of freedom of expression. Arresting a citizen under cybercrime charge merely for sharing on social media pages is against the right to freedom of expression. Hence FF urges security authority to resort to legitimate ways for concern over social media user’s posts rather than sheer misuse of ETA.