Man arrested in Sussex over Nepal civil war torture claims

 

A former colonel in the Nepalese army has been arrested by Scotland Yard anti-terrorist officers over claims that he tortured a suspected Maoist during the country’s long-running civil war.

The 46-year-old man was arrested in the seaside town of St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, this morning. He was questioned at a police station while the home was searched, police said.

His alleged victim claimed to have been tortured in 2005, the year when Nepal’s king imposed a brutally-enforced emergency law in a failed attempt to quash a Maoist rebellion against his rule. King Gyanendra was stripped of his powers the following year to end 10-years of civil war in which thousands of people were killed and thousands more injured and tortured. A republic was declared in 2008.

Solicitors for the victim said that the alleged torturer had been given British citizenship. “I am delighted and relieved to hear that finally the officer who was involved in torturing me has been arrested,” said the victim, who has not been named, in a statement issued by his solicitor. “I trust that the British system will deliver justice; something I was not able to get in my own country.”

The colonel, who has also not been named, was arrested under section 134 of the 1988 Criminal Justice Act, which makes torture by a public official an offence wherever it is committed in the world.

Only one person has  been convicted of torture under the law since it was introduced. Farayadi Sawar Zardad was convicted in July 2005 of conspiracy to commit torture and take hostages in Afghanistan between 1991 and 1996.

Torture is not a crime in Nepal despite repeated government promises and campaigns by rights groups. Victims can only claim small sums in compensation and a court can recommend disciplinary charges for military torturers.

The UN recorded more than 2,500 cases of torture during the conflict. “Torture, mutilation, and other sorts of cruel and inhumane and degrading treatment appear to have been perpetrated extensively during the conflict, according to available data, by both the security forces and the Maoists,” the UN said in a report last year.

Kate Maynard, the complainant’s solicitor, said: “This firm has worked very hard on a number of these cases and it is a source of great satisfaction to know that the UK takes seriously its international obligation to investigate and where appropriate to prosecute alleged crimes of this nature”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links