Sussex man appears in court over Nepal torture claims

 

A Nepalese army officer appeared in court today charged with two counts of torture.

Colonel Kumar Lama, 46, of St Peters Road, Hastings, is accused of inflicting severe pain or suffering when he was acting in an official capacity.

Lama, who has indefinite leave to remain in the UK, spoke only to confirm his identity when he appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

He is currently serving as a UN peacekeeper in South Sudan and had been due to return to Africa today after spending Christmas in East Sussex, the court heard.

The offences are said to have taken place between April 15 2005 and May 1 2005, and April 15 2005 and October 31 2005, at the Gorusinghe Army Barracks, Kapilvastu, Nepal.

Lama, who has served in the Nepalese Army since 1984, was in charge of the barracks at the time, during the Himalayan nation's decade-long Maoist insurgency, the court was told.

The charges relate to two men, Janak Bahadur Raut and Karam Hussain, and were brought under Section 134 (sub section 1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

The court heard that Attorney General Dominic Grieve gave permission for the charges to be brought yesterday.

The government of Nepal summoned the British ambassador in Kathmandu to protest over the officer's arrest.

Deputy prime minister Narayankaji Shrestha told reporters that the government had demanded the immediate release of Lama, while Nepal also instructed its embassy in London to submit a protest note to the British government.

Two diplomats from the Nepalese embassy were in court for the short hearing.

Scotland Yard said the arrest did not take place at the request of Nepali authorities.

The court heard his wife is a nurse and they have two children, a 21-year-old university student and a 17-year-old A-Level student.

Lama previously served as a UN peacekeeper in Sierra Leone and twice in Lebanon, the court heard.

He was remanded in custody by District Judge Quentin Purdy to appear at the Old Bailey on January 24.

PA

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

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before