Nepal army officer arrested in Britain

Jan. 5, 2013 at 12:55 AM
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LONDON, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- The Nepalese government has demanded the release of an army officer arrested in Britain on suspicion of war crimes during the Maoist insurgency in Nepal.

Col. Kumar Lama was visiting his wife in St. Leonards-on-Sea in East Sussex when he was picked up by London's Metropolitan Police, Republica reported. He is deployed with a Nepalese detachment as part of the U.N. peacekeeping operation in Sudan.

The Nepalese government lodged a formal protest with John Tucknot, the British ambassador in Kathmandu.

Scotland Yard issued a statement after Thursday's arrest that said Lama is suspected of torture in 2005 during the decade-long civil war in Nepal, The Guardian reported. The complaint was filed by the Advocacy Forum, a Nepalese human rights group, on behalf of an alleged victim.

The forum said police had been given supporting evidence. The Scotland Yard statement said investigators with the counter-terrorism unit would determine if there is enough evidence to present a case to the Crown Prosecution Service.

The case could be tried in Britain.

"This arrest has brought a ray of hope to victims," Mandira Sharma, the forum's founder, said.

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