Nepalese soldiers face court for human rights abuses

Thirteen soldiers accused of beating up villagers in western Nepal face court martials for human rights abuses, the military said Monday.

Following the death of one soldier by communist rebels in the village of Imalia, the angry soldiers summoned some 150 villagers to their camp and beat them, the Royal Nepalese Army said in a statement.

The soldiers accused the villagers of harboring the Maoist rebels, the statement said.

"These men have been charged with abusing the general public. We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to human right abuses," Maj. Gen. Rajendra Thapa, who commands the army in the west, told The Associated Press.

He said the court martial process has already begun.

The army has often been criticized for human rights abuses since it began fighting communist insurgents in 2001. It claims to have taken measures to protect human rights during operations, and has punished 155 officers for abuses ranging from excessive use of force, to murder, reports the AP.


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