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Army Major taken into custody on arrival

world Updated: Dec 12, 2009 20:19 IST
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Moments after he landed at the Tribhuwan International Airport here on Saturday, Military Police arrested Major Niranjan Basnet, a Nepal Army officer accused of torturing a 15-year-old girl to death in 2004.

Basnet was returning home from an UN peacekeeping mission in Chad from where he was expelled and repatriated due to the serious nature of allegations against him.

According to reports, soon after he arrived Basnet was taken into custody and is being detained at the Nepal Army headquarters at Bhadrakali. He is one of the four army officials accused in the death of Maina Sunuwar on February 17, 2004.

The teenager was tortured to death for being an alleged Maoist sympathizer during Nepal's 10-year civil war that ended in 2006. Her body was exhumed in March 2007 from a secret burial site inside an army-training centre.

In September 2005, a military court held three officials guilty and sentenced them to six months imprisonment. But despite a civil court order seeking his arrest, Basnet was promoted and sent on an UN mission in Chad.

In recent weeks, several international bodies including the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and International Commission of Jurists have been urging the Nepal government to arrest Basnet to bring him to justice.