Thursday, December 10, 2009

Amnesty urges Nepal to arrest major over girl's death

AFP-KATHMANDU — Amnesty International urged Nepal's government to arrest an army major accused of torturing a 15-year-old girl to death during the country's civil war.

Major Niranjan Basnet has been charged by a civil court with murdering Maina Sunuwar, who died in 2004 in army custody. A military tribunal said she suffered electrocution and drowning during interrogation.

Basnet was never arrested and continued to serve in the Nepalese army, most recently in Chad as part of a UN peacekeeping mission.

The United Nations reportedly expelled him from the mission after becoming aware of the charges, and asked Nepal's government to repatriate him, but it is not clear whether he has yet returned.

"Major Basnet must be prosecuted by a civilian court for his alleged involvement in Maina Sunuwar's murder," Jonathan O'Donohue, a legal advisor for Amnesty, said in a statement released late Tuesday.

"If he is still in Chad, the Nepal government should request the UN mission to detain him and to ensure his transfer back to Nepal to face trial."

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