Nepal protests arrest of its army officer in UK

AP News

1/4/2013 7:59:08 AM - AP News

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — The government of Nepal summoned the British ambassador in Katmandu on Friday to protest the arrest of a Nepali army officer in the United Kingdom over allegations of torture reportedly committed during the Himalayan's nation's decade-long Maoist insurgency.

Deputy Prime Minister Narayankaji Shrestha told reporters that the Nepal government has demanded the immediate release of Col. Kumar Lama. Nepal has also instructed its embassy in London to submit a protest note to the British government.

Britain's Metropolitan Police arrested the 46-year-old on Thursday in the English town of St. Leonards-on-Sea, about 70 miles (115 kilometers) southeast of London.

Nepal officials said Lama is currently serving as a military observer under the U.N. Mission in Southern Sudan and was on a vacation in London.

Scotland Yard said the arrest did not take place at the request of Nepali authorities.

The details of the alleged offense have not been made clear. British authorities claim "universal jurisdiction" over serious offenses such as war crimes, torture, and hostage taking.

Thousands died and thousands more were injured or tortured during Nepal's civil war, a decade-long conflict which ended in 2006.