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Nepalese officer Kumar Lama 'ordered torture' during civil war

Kumar Lama Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Lt Col Kumar Lama is being tried at the Old Bailey

A British-based Nepalese army officer ordered the torture of two suspected rebels during the country's civil war, the Old Bailey has heard.

Lt Col Kumar Lama, 47, who now lives in St Leonard's, East Sussex, was in charge of a barracks in Nepal at the height of the conflict in April 2005.

He is accused of ordering the torture of Janak Raut and Karam Hussain, who were believed to be Maoist Communists.

Lt Col Lama, who is on indefinite leave to stay in the UK, denies the charges.

The prosecution is being brought in Britain because of an obligation under the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

Prosecutor Bobbie Cheema QC said the first alleged victim, Mr Raut, was a medic who worked in a private health clinic and was not a Maoist.

After being taken to Gorusinghe Barracks in Kapilvastu, he was led into the forest by the officer, the jury was told.

'Sticks kept breaking'

Ms Cheema said: "The colonel ordered the soldiers to bring an iron rod, a spade and sticks to beat him with. As he lay face down on the ground, handcuffed and blindfolded, soldiers hit him with sticks and kicked him.

"He was beaten with such force that the sticks kept breaking and had to be replaced with new ones."

She said he was finally released on bail as the King of Nepal declared an end to the state of emergency.

The second alleged victim, Mr Hussein, was a Maoist sympathiser, Ms Cheema said.

He was arrested with a group of other men and taken blindfolded to the Army barracks where the Col Lama ordered them to be killed, the jury heard.

Ms Cheema said he was beaten in the forest and then told: "Let's go, we are not going to kill you today, maybe in a few days' time."

The trial continues.

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