On June 1, the police arrested a businessman Mohammad Abdul Rahman from Portaha of Saptari, a district in the southern plain of Nepal, over his comment on a facebook post of a news story. The police arrested him reasoning his comments violated the Electronic Transaction Act.
The police then filed a case in the district court, Saptari, which later sent to the Kathmandu on June 19, saying it had no jurisdiction to look into the case. So, businessman Rahman was brought to Kathmandu by the police.
In response to a journalist's facebook post of a story, 'Improving security in Saptari', the businessman on May 31 had commented as 'How to say the security improving as I had to pay Rs 50,000 to bring back my looted motorcycle.'
To this, Chairman of the Freedom Forum, Taranath Dahal, observes, "The comments by businessman Rahaman is neither a hate word/speech nor has violated the existing laws. So, his arrest by the police is a sheer abuse of the authority and violation of citizens' right to express freely. Such incident suppresses the freedom of expression which is essential for effective democratic system."
A month back, the police had arrested a government employee over a similar case- response on a facebook post. Though brought to the capital city for action, he was released after some days.
Freedom Forum has been continuously objecting to the misuse of the Electronic Transaction Act because the government has used the Act as a tool to suppress people's right to freedom of expression and information going beyond the intention of the Act.
FF therefore condemns the arrests of businessman Rahman and demands the authorities to immediately release businessman Rahman without any condition and respect his right to freedom of expression.