Kelowna man asked to leave Nepal for political social media posts

A former Kelowna resident currently working in Nepal has been given a short window of time to leave the country ...

A former Kelowna resident currently working in Nepal has been given a short window of time to leave the country, due to a series of social media posts he made about a the country’s human-rights issues.

“Nepal Immigration released me after 26 hours in custody, cancelled my working visa & gave me 2 days to leave Nepal. Thank you to all supporters,” wrote Robert Penner on his Facebook page.

The Canadian expat was for the last four years living in Kathmandu and working as a software developer for a technology outsourcing company, CloudFactory.

He allegedly violated Section 28 (1) (e) of Nepal’s Immigration Rules, which say that a foreigner’s visa can be cancelled, “If his or her presence seems to cause an adverse impact on peace and security of Nepal or mutual harmony between the people of Nepal.”

He had made a series of online comments about  various instances of corruption.

Most recently he wrote about his decision to sign a petition to free a journalist who was arrested on suspicion of abusing his position as the chairman of a transportation co-operative.

“I signed this petition not because I think Kanak Mani Dixit is innocent (I have no idea), not because I believe everything he says (some of his claims are dubious), but because I believe Dixit’s time in jail should be minimized during the investigation. Currently #‎CIAA is seeking 30 days of detention, which seems unnecessary at this point. I hope the court will instruct CIAA to do their job and Dixit to cooperate while he lives at home,” Penner wrote in a post.

“UPDATE: The special court decided that Dixit can be held in custody for 10 days. The court also instructed CIAA to allow Dixit to consult with his lawyer. It’s ridiculous that the court would even have to remind constitutional body CIAA of this constitutional right.”

Although Penner hasn’t commented on his current situation, it’s clear he’s not wallowing in self pity, nor is he backing down from provocative posts.

“I made a goal this year to get published in the The New York Times. I submitted an op-ed pitch about earthquake relief corruption a few months ago but it didn’t work out. But there’s this,” he wrote, alongside a link to a NY Times story, explaining his current plight.

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