Nepal govt protests colonel`s arrest in UK

Last Updated: Friday, January 4, 2013 - 22:16

Kathmandu: Nepal on Friday summoned the British ambassador and demanded the immediate release of an Army colonel arrested in the UK on charges of torture committed during the decade-long Maoist insurgency that claimed almost 15,000 lives.

Speaking at a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) here, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha said the arrest of Army colonel Kumar Lama in the United Kingdom breached the jurisdiction of a sovereign nation as well international norms.

Shrestha said, the foreign ministry summoned British ambassador John Tucknott and handed over a `protest note` over Lama`s arrest. The ambassador assured that he would relay the information regarding Nepal government`s concern to the British government.

Similarly, issuing a press statement, the ministry said the Nepal government has strongly objected to the arrest, which is "sad and shocking". It also said Nepal was committed to internationally accepted human rights norms and to bring the human rights abusers to justice.

The Nepalese mission in London has been directed to take action for Lama`s release and repatriate him to the United Nations Sudan mission where he has been deployed as an observer, the ministry said.

Lama was on a vacation in the UK when he was arrested by Scotland Yard.
Lama was arrested from St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, yesterday based on a complaint filed by Advocacy Forum Nepal that said he was responsible for torture of a person identified as Rawat in Army custody during the Maoist insurgency.

Nepal`s decade-long Maoist insurgency which ended in 2006, witnessed the deaths of almost 15,000 people while thousands more were allegedly tortured or injured.

Some 100,000 people were internally displaced and the fate of approximately 1,400 others remains unknown to this day. Both the army and Maoist rebels were accused of committing atrocities during the conflict.

Scotland Yard has not made public the details of the alleged offence committed by Lama. However, British authorities claim "universal jurisdiction" over serious offences such as war crimes, torture, and hostage taking.

Earlier today, the Nepalese Army confirmed that Colonel Kumar Lama assigned on a peacekeeping duty in Sudan was arrested in Britain.

Lama was in UK on a holiday when he was arrested by the authorities there.
Army spokesperson Suresh Sharma said they received verbal and written information on Lama`s arrest.

Sharma said the Army Headquarters has already issued directives to the military attache at the Nepalese Embassy in London, Bishwanath Ghimire, to give details on the issue.

The British Police stated that Lama was arrested yesterday on the charge of torturing the prisoners of war during the armed conflict in Nepal.

The criminal law of Great Britain has provisions for arresting individuals torturing the prisoners of war.

PTI




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