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LONDON: Nepalese army Colonel Kumar Lama, currently serving as a UN peacekeeper in South Sudan, appeared in a London court yesterday charged with two counts of torture.
The 46-year-old stands accused of inflicting severe pain or suffering on two men when he was in charge of a barracks during the Himalayan nation’s decade-long Maoist insurgency in 2005.
Lama spoke only to confirm his identity when he appeared for a short hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
His arrest on Thursday at St Leonards-on-Sea in southeast England sparked a formal protest by the Nepalese government to the British ambassador in Kathmandu and a demand for his release. Two Nepalese embassy diplomats were in court.
Lama, who has indefinite leave to remain in Britain, spent a Christmas break in England with his family and was due to return to South Sudan yesterday.
The court heard that his wife is a nurse and they have two children: a 21-year-old university student and a 17-year-old in secondary school.
Lama previously served as a UN peacekeeper in Sierra Leone and twice in Lebanon, the court heard. Scotland Yard said the arrest did not take place at the request of Nepali authorities. AFP