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Former Nepal PM arrested

From Akhilesh Upadhyay for CNN


KATHMANDU, Nepal (CNN) -- Former Nepali Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has been arrested at his home in Kathmandu, a spokesman for his party, the Nepali Congress-Democratic, has told CNN.

Deuba was arrested early Wednesday after refusing to appear before the Royal Corruption Control Commission, formed by the government, declaring it to be unconstitutional, said the spokesman, Minendra Rijal.

The commission had charged Deuba with distributing unauthorized funds to party workers and irregularities in awarding a multimillion-dollar water-supply contract.

"The Royal Corruption Control Commission is unconstitutional," Rijal said. "And this arrest is inhuman."

This week, the government also arrested a member of Deuba's cabinet, Prakash Man Singh, for the same reason.

On February 1, King Gyanendra seized absolute power, put the country under emergency rule and suspended fundamental rights, though the royalist government has progressively relaxed restrictions amid intense international pressure in recent weeks.

More than 11,000 Nepalis have died since the Maoists launched their "people's war" in 1996 to abolish monarchy and establish a one-party communist rule in the impoverished Himalayan kingdom.

King Gyanendra, in a February 1 televised address to the nation, said that successive governments had been unsuccessful in fighting the Maoists.

India, Britain and the United States, major suppliers of arms to Nepal's army, have put a hold on military supplies.

They say that Nepal is locked in a war that neither the rebels nor the security forces can win.

They say resumption of military supplies, which are crucial for Nepal's counter-insurgency operations, will depend on restoration of democracy.

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