- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 26, 2005

NETHERLANDS

Suspected assassin had police record

THE HAGUE — The man suspected of killing Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh has had several brushes with justice and was sentenced in 2001 to 12 weeks in jail for assaulting police officers, Dutchtelevision reported yesterday.

Mohammed Bouyeri, 26, was arrested for possession of a knife in an Amsterdam park in June 2001, threatening four officers with the knife and lunging at one of them before he was apprehended, the public television report said.

He also was reportedly arrested after a bar brawl in the suburbs of Amsterdam in June 2000, although no charges were pressed.

BRITAIN

4 arrested on return from Guantanamo

LONDON — Four Britons were arrested by counterterrorist police yesterday upon their return after up to three years of imprisonment at the U.S. detention facility at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

A group of protesters assembled outside the high-security Paddington Green police station, where the men were held under a provision dealing with “involvement in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.”

The four were among about 550 prisoners from 42 countries swept up in the U.S.-led war on terror and detained without charge.

RUSSIA

Putin tries to ease worries over draft

MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin yesterday sought to assuage students worried about a potential end to education deferments from military service, saying the government had not decided on the issue.

Mr. Putin is facing a surge of public anger over separate reforms canceling social benefits in favor of cash stipends for pensioners and others, and his comments on the unpopular draft appeared to signal his desire to avoid another potentially explosive issue.

Several dozen students and activists gathered yesterday in front of the Russian Defense Ministry headquarters to demonstrate against canceling student deferments.

FRANCE

Seven detained in Iraq militant ring

PARIS — Security agents have detained seven persons suspected of being part of a network funneling French Islamist militants to Iraq, police said yesterday.

Two of the seven were women, TV station LCI reported. The seven, whose names were not released, were arrested Monday in Paris, the police said.

On Sept. 22, judicial authorities opened an investigation of French Muslims fighting in Iraq.

BRITAIN

U.S. stiffens opposition to China arms sales

Citing China’s human rights record, the Bush administration stood fast yesterday in opposing European weapons sales to China.

“We think it is not the right policy decision, not the right time, given China’s human rights record,” State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

“We don’t think an expansion of arms sales to China is appropriate at this time,” he said.

The statement followed back-to-back visits by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw of Britain and Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer of Germany. The European Union, with backing from Britain, France and Germany, is to end a ban on weapons sales to China in June.

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