The Supreme Court of Nepal has refused bail to a pastor who has been imprisoned since late March after allegedly spreading false information about covid-19.
In its 27th May decision, the court ruled that 32-year-old pastor Keshav Acharya must remain in prison for the duration of his trial. Acharya was detained by security officials after footage emerged of him praying against the disease.
According to Morning Star News, Acharya said:
"Hey, corona – you go and die. May all your deeds be destroyed by the power of the Lord Jesus. I rebuke you, corona, in the name of Lord Jesus Christ. By the power or the ruler of this Creation, I rebuke you… By the power in the name of Lord Jesus Christ, corona, go away and die.”
The Nepal Christian Society (NCS) noted that the Senior Superintendent of Police released a memo four days after the arrest accusing the pastor of spreading misinformation about the pandemic. A district court then ordered Pastor Acharya to pay a 5,000 Rupee ($40.00 USD) fine after he'd spent a fortnight in jail.
Three days later, the pastor was arrested once again after being accused of violating Penal Code 9:156 & 158.
Speaking in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to refuse Pastor Acharya bail, Pastor Mukunda Sharma, Executive Secretary of NCS, said: “From this unjust move, a terrible precedent is established, not only against Pastor Acharya, but against all Christians. The judicial procedure today has overruled all the facts and legal/constitutional provisions and has violated the freedom of religion.”