KATHMANDU, Sept 20 : The Nepal Army (NA) is taking a fresh look at the case of Colonel Kumar Lama following his acquittal, so that he can return to normal duty and the question of possible recompensation for him for the loss he suffered can be taken up.
The Central Criminal Court in the United Kingdom, commomly known as the Old Bailey, had terminated criminal proceedings against Lama as there was insufficient evidence for a jury to be satisfied of his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Lama returned to Nepal on Tuesday. He was arrested in the UK under universal jurisdiction more than three years ago on the charge of torturing Janak Raut and Karim Husain in 2005 during the time of the Maoist insurgency.
“After we study the full text of the court case, we will take a formal decision about his resuming regular duty,” said NA spokesperson Brigadier General Tara Bahadur Karki. He also said that they are about to receive the full text of the court ruling.
According to NA officials, a body set up by the army will first hear from Col Lama on the entire case and then take necessary steps regarding compensating him for the loss he faced through captivity. “There are chances of reconsidering his promotion and other ways to recompense him if need be,” the officials said.
Brigadier Karki also said that there might be some demands on Lama's part, in which case the relevent militay body might come up with an official assessment for soothening his career.
Lama joined the army as a combat engineer in 1986 and during Maoist insurgency he was commander of the Gorusinghe barracks in Kapilvastu district. In 2008 he was convicted by the District Court Kapilvastu of perpetrating torture, and his promotion was held up for 15 months.
Lama had reportedly applied for permanent residency in the UK in 2008 and was given resident status. He has now applied to relinquish his residency status.
UK police arrested Lama in January 2013 when he went to meet his family which was living there. He had arrived there from South Sudan, whre he was serving with the United Nations peace-keeping mission.
Despite Lama's acquittal, petitioners allege that the government has remained unsupportive for providing justice to the torture victims and state that a case has already been established.