Hands are tied, say UK politicians


British politicians have said they cannot speak up openly for the release of Nepal Army Colonel Kumar Lama, currently in British custody for his alleged involvement in torture during the decade-long Maoist insurgency.

According to sources, the politicians clarified that they cannot comment on Lama’s case as it is sub judice in the court. Although the UK recognises parliamentary sovereignty, the independence of the judiciary has never been questioned.

Nepali Ambassador to the UK, Suresh Chalise, on Thursday met Speaker of the House of Lords Baroness D’Souza and Labour Party Senior Lord Paul separately as part of diplomatic initiatives for Lama’s release. Chalise had conveyed Nepal’s request to them that Lama must be released unconditionally. He also conveyed to them that Nepali political parties also wish to see Lama’s immediate release.

Chalise also told them that Lama’s arrest has hurt the country’s sovereignty and that it might jeopardise the peace process. He also cautioned them that the 200-long-year-long relationship between Nepal and Britain could sour if the case drags on. Chalise told them about Nepal’s commitment to transitional justice and human rights.

Paul, whom Chalise met on Thursday, said the incident is unfortunate. He cautioned both  Nepal and Britain and said that the incident should not jeopardise the relationship between the two countries. He assured Chalise that he would take up the case in the Britain-Nepal All Party Parliamentary Group (BNAPPG), of which he is a member.

Chalise on Tuesday met British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire and BNAPPG Chief, Sir John Stanley. However, he failed to meet the British Defence Minister and the Minister of State for International Development, Alan Duncan, as they were out of the country. Experts have been suggesting legal recourse instead of diplomatic initiatives to have Col Lama freed. Meanwhile, family members, officials of the Nepali Embassy and a lawyer have been allowed to meet Col Lama. “We worked hard to get an access to him. We will soon be meeting him,” Chalise said.

Posted on: 2013-01-12 08:39