Nepali Army Officer Faces Torture Charges

Nepali Army Officer Faces Torture Charges

Colonel Kumar Lama was arrested while visiting his family in the UK over two alleged offences dating back to 2005.

A Nepali army officer has been in remanded in custody charged with two counts of torture after being arrested in the UK.

Colonel Kumar Lama, 46, of St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, is accused of inflicting severe pain or suffering when he was acting in an official capacity.

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 at Kapilvastu, Nepal.

The offences are alleged to have taken place as the then-government fought a decade-long Maoist insurgency.

Lama was arrested under a law which allows the prosecution of suspected torturers, even if the alleged offence has no connection to the UK.

At Westminster Magistrates Court, Judge Quentin Purdy ruled that Lama would be held in custody as there was risk he would leave the country if released.He will appear at the Old Bailey on January 24.

Lama is serving as a military observer with the UN Mission in South Sudan but had been spending Christmas in Britain when he was arrested, the court heard.

His wife and two children, aged 21 and 17, live in the UK.

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


Since Nepal is a signatory on the Geneva Convention why has he been arrested ?
He is a serving member of another nations Armed Forces, so I was just asking why, ok he was here visiting family but also on R&R from Somalia, bet that means any other countries Armed Forces better watch out if visiting if covered by their forces but we dont like it...
Sorry, I'm not understanding what point you are attempting to make; He is Nepalese, who are signatories on the Geneva Convention, he is accused of torture and therefore answerable.

He was in UK for Christmas (I'm guessing he is married to a British Citizen), and was arrested..............................and ????
Just out of interest, doesn't the UK have one or two asylum seekers who might have been involved in torture in their home country? Some of the people who fled the ME and Africa spring to mind, let alone some of the CIA/KGB agents who come through, special rendition flights, stuff like that.
As might be predicted, GAESO have joined in the fray, while at the same time adding a bit of their own agenda.

KATHMANDU, Jan 6: A day after major political parties including UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress and CPN-UML flayed the arrest of Nepal Army (NA) Colonel Kumar Lama in the UK, Gurkha Ex-Army Servicemen´s Organization (GAESO) on Sunday joined the chorus, questioning the UK´s commitment to human rights.

The umbrella organization of the retired Gurkha servicemen, who served in the British Army, demanded unconditional release of Lama. They have termed the arrest of a serving army officer "objectionable".

Issuing a press statement on Sunday, GAESO President Padam Bahadur Gurung said the move taken by the UK government without acknowledging the fact that they are crimes of "political nature" and without paying heed to the fact that Nepal is in the process of addressing conflict-era human rights violations has hurt their sentiments. "Nepalis themselves should be allowed to take decisions on issues of this nature," the statement said.

GAESO has also questioned the human rights credential of UK, giving a list of cases in which the UK had violated their human rights in the past. "As representatives of Gurkha soldiers, it is difficult for us to say that it is the UK that has given us more trouble," said the statement.
GAESO has accused the UK government of violating human rights by sending thousands of Gurkhas, who fought on behalf of the British government, empty handed and even denying them pensions. "Which human rights had the British Army followed while containing rebellion in Brunei and indiscriminately opening fire on unarmed peasants in the villages of Indonesia?" GAESO asked.

Likewise, GAESO has accused the British authorities of violating their human rights by forcefully converting many Kirant and Buddhist followers into Hindus while in the British Gurkha Army. "The policies of the UK government were illegal and of dual nature even according to the verdict of the UK´s appeal court four years ago. Shouldn´t the UK own responsibility for human rights violations against Gurkhas?" the statement further said.

"The UK does not have moral grounds to punish Colonel Lama unless it answers the questions raised by the Gurkhas," the statement said.

While stating that it fully respects international human rights laws, GAESO added that it also believes that those guilty of human rights violations in Nepal should not be spared. "But Nepalis themselves should be given rights to punish the perpetrators. The UK should be ashamed of talking about human rights issues," the statement added.
GAESO demands immediate release of Col Lama
Col Lama's trial has been set to start on 5 June at Kingston Crown Court.

The Nepal Government has appointed the firm of Kingsley Napley, who defended Pinochet on torture charges to act in Col Lama's defence.

The reports (below) come from the Nepal media and the caveat regarding possibly unreliability should apply.

According to Nepal media, the UN has refused to grant his application for diplomatic immunity which was based on his employment with the UN mission prior to his arrest.

Part of his defence will be will be that of 'Double Jeopardy' as it seems that he has already been found guilty on one of the charges by a regional court in Nepal.

The hearing took place on January 27, 2008, wherein the court convicted Col Kumar Lama in the case and ordered the government to pay Rs 75,000 to Raut in compensation and initiate disciplinary action against the guilty NA official.

More than six years since the incident, the court verdict has yet to be implemented, Raut claimed. "I did not receive the compensation and Lama did not face any action. I sent many appeals to the government, to no avail, in the regard." The district court had written to the Defence Ministry some four years ago, asking it to initiate disciplinary action against Col Lama. According to Raut, the ministry had responded that Col Lama had gone to the UK for study and that it would take up the case upon his return two years later. "That day never came. I was denied justice in my own country," said Raut.
Victim reports torture under Col Lama's command DC Nepal Main Page

A couple of curiousities thrown up by the media; not only is Col Lama a UK resident but it seems that 'many [serving] Nepal army officers have been granted that status'.
It also may seem a bit odd that someone who has completed a masters degree in in International relations at Sussex and has been long employed at UN missions should need a translator in court but I expect it's a requirement to ensure fairness in his trial.

In 2008, Col Lama applied for and was given indefinite rights to remain in the UK. This status does not make him a UK citizen but an effective resident.
“Many Nepal Army officers whose wives work as staff nurses in the UK have applied and received rights to remain in the UK. Serving officers do not apply for citizenship or marry a foreign woman as they will lose their job for that,” said a general at the Army HQ.
Lama lived with his family and completed a Masters in International Relations from the University of Sussex in 2007-2009. Of his two daughters, a 21-year-old is studying at the University College London and a 17-year-old is an A-Level student in the UK.
UN no to diplomatic immunity for colonel | Top Stories | :: The Kathmandu Post ::
Poor sod can't win, arrested here for torture, at home they want to arrest him for not applying the electrodes correctly in accordance with the manual.....
Despite attempts by the Nepalese government to lean on HMG in order to get the process stopped, Colonel Lama's case started at the Old Bailey today.

It's expected to last six weeks.
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