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Nepalese colonel to face torture trial in London

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-01-24

Nepalese Colonel Kumar Lama, now a British resident, is to face trial in London on two charges of torture allegedly committed while he was responsible for a Nepalese army barracks in 2005.

A Nepalese army officer will be tried at a British court on two charges of torture allegedly committed in 2005 during the Himalayan country’s civil war, a London court ruled on Thursday.

Colonel Kumar Lama appeared by video link from prison at the Old Bailey in London to hear that his case would go to trial on June 5. He was denied bail.

Lama, 46, was arrested at his home in Hastings on the south coast of England, where he lives with his wife, a nurse, and two children.

He is accused of “inflicting severe pain and suffering” on two individuals while he was in charge of the Gorusinghe Army Barracks in Nepal in 2005.

Prosecutors say his alleged victims were Janak Bahadur Raut and Karam Hussain. The charges were brought under Section 134 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

International jurisdiction

London’s Metropolitan Police told FRANCE 24 on Thursday that because torture is a crime prosecuted under international jurisdiction, police were obliged to arrest him despite that fact that he is a foreign national and the crimes were committed in Nepal.

They said the charges had not been brought by the Nepalese authorities, who have since demanded his release.

Neither the police nor the Crown Prosecution Service were able to give any further information on the background of the case, or the circumstances under which he was arrested, until that information comes out in court.

Lama was due to return to South Sudan, where he was serving as a UN peacekeeper, shortly after his arrest on January 3, 2013.

Date created : 2013-01-24

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