Nepalese colonel charged with torture


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The Independent Online

A serving colonel in the Nepalese army has been charged with two offences of torture after being arrested in the UK.

The arrest by the Metropolitan Police prompted the Nepalese authorities to summon the UK ambassador in Kathmandu yesterday to make an official protest. They have demanded the immediate release of the army officer.

Kumar Lama, 46, was arrested in St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, on Thursday and will appear at Westminster magistrates’ court today, Scotland Yard said. He was charged with “inflicting severe pain or suffering” on Janak Bahadur Raut and Karam Hussain in 2005 at the Gorusinghe Army Barracks, Kapilvastu, Nepal.

At the time the offences are said to have taken place, Napal was beset by a civil war in which the authorities were faced by a Maoist insurgency which ended in 2006. Col Lama was said by Nepalese officials to have been on holiday in London while serving as a military observer under the UN Mission in Sudan. The offences, said Scotland Yard, come under international jurisdiction and do not have to be committed in the UK to be dealt with by British police.

Brad Adams, of Human Rights Watch, described the arrest as”an important step in enforcing the UN Convention against Torture”.