UK court acquits Col Lama in one case

Published On: August 3, 2016 08:03 AM NPT By: Chiran Sharma  | @chiranuk

LONDON, Aug 2: Nepal Army (NA) Colonel Kumar Lama has been acquitted by Old Bailey Central Criminal Court, London on Tuesday in one of the two cases filed against him by former Maoist rebels alleging torture during the decade-long armed conflict in Nepal.

Even though Col Lama is acquitted by the court in a case filed by Karram Hussain, one of the two former Maoist rebels who had filed case against him, he cannot leave the United Kingdom until the court delivers its verdict on the second case filed by Janak Raut, another rebel.

The 12-member jury that is hearing his case declared him not guilty in one of the two cases on Tuesday after seven weeks of hearing.

The jury was expected to deliver its verdict on both the cases, but it could not reach a conclusion on the case related to Raut.

Hussain and Raut had filed cases against Col Lama accusing him of torturing them in the army barracks based in Goru Singhe, Kapilvastu district.

The hearing on the second case is likely to resume in the first week of September. 
According to the UK's judicial process, the verdict is considered valid only if not more than two jury members among 12 remain against the verdict. 
The victims had stated that they were tortured and forced to give statements while they were kept blindfolded.

They claimed that they had heard a voice similar to that of Col Lama. But the jury acquitted Col Lama after Hussain could not confidently substantiate his claims.

The prosecution of Colonel Lama was brought before the court citing the UK's obligations under the UN convention against torture which calls on signatory nations to bring war crimes suspects to justice.

Prosecutor Duncan Penny QC has been seeking justice for Raut claiming that the victim suffered physical disability following the torture at army barracks.

Raut is currently in London after the jury sought victims' account in person. Lama was arrested in 2013 while he was traveling to London to meet his family members who are settled there.

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