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Man arrested in Sussex over Nepal Civil War torture claims

The landmark case is being watched closely by human rights activists in Nepal.

Image: A cadre of former Maoist rebels look on at a rally on the occasion of the 12th anniversary of the Maoist people's war in Katmandu

A 46-YEAR-OLD man was arrested in England today in connection with torture allegedly committed during the Nepalese Civil War in 2005.

Scotland Yard officers detained the man at about 7.20am at his home in St Leonards-on-Sea. He was taken to the local police station, where he remains in custody.

Searches are ongoing at his residence.

The investigation is being led by the Counter Terrorism Command, which has a responsibility for examining alleged war crimes and human rights abuses. Detectives are looking  into claims that the man tortured a suspected Maoist rebel in the penultimate year of the long-running conflict.

According to The Independent, he is a former colonel in the Nepalese army, arrested under section 134 of the 1988 Criminal Justice Act, which makes torture by a public official an offence wherever it is committed in the world.

In 2005, the year of the alleged torture, Maoist guerrillas made another attempt to overthrow the monarchy but clashed with government forces. King Gyanendra declared a state of emergency.

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The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has previously complained that although approximately 9,000 serious violations occurred during the 10-year-war, no one has ever been prosecuted.

Up to 17,000 people were killed in the brutal violence, with 1,300 still missing.

Despite campaigns, torture is still not a crime in Nepal.

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