- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 4, 2005

MEXICO

Government drops case against mayor

MEXICO CITY — The Mexican government dropped a land dispute case against Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador yesterday, ending a battle that had threatened to knock the most popular candidate out of the 2006 presidential case.

Prosecutors said the case, which sparked massive protests, was dismissed because the legal code laid out no specific punishment for Mr. Lopez Obrador’s purported offense.

Mr. Lopez Obrador had fought the investigation with protests and speeches, accusing the government of using the charges to keep him out of the presidential race — charges President Vicente Fox denied. Under most interpretations of Mexican law, anyone facing criminal charges cannot run for office.

ISRAEL

Transfer of control in West Bank halted

JERUSALEM — The Israeli security Cabinet yesterday decided to freeze the transfer of security control from the army to the Palestinian Authority, public television reported.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and other senior Cabinet members followed the advice of Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, who has argued that no such transfers should take place until the Palestinians move to disarm militant groups.

Israel agreed in principle to hand over responsibility for security in five West Bank towns at a summit between Mr. Sharon and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in February.

RUSSIA

High-rise banner asks Putin to quit

MOSCOW — Radical protesters unfolded a four-story banner from a Moscow hotel next to the Kremlin yesterday telling President Vladimir Putin to leave office.

“Putin — get out voluntarily,” read the huge black banner with white lettering on the facade of the central Rossiya hotel that looms over Red Square.

Two activists from the National Bolshevik Party had hung the cloth from two windows on the 11th floor of the vast hotel, then suspended themselves on the outside of the building to complicate arrest.

SPAIN

Al Qaeda suspect claims coercion

MADRID — A suspected al Qaeda militant cried yesterday after taking the stand on charges that he belonged to a cell accused of helping plot the September 11 attacks, and said interrogators coerced him into testifying.

Abdulla Khayata Katan, a 29-year-old Spaniard of Syrian origin, denied any wrongdoing and said he was abused and humiliated at a Jordanian jail before being turned over to Spanish authorities in February last year. Mr. Katan is accused of belonging to a terrorist organization.

GERMANY

Neo-Nazi jailed for terror activities

MUNICH — A German court convicted a prominent right-winger yesterday of leading a terrorist organization that aimed to set up a neo-Nazi dictatorship, and sentenced him to seven years in prison.

Martin Wiese was the ringleader of Kameradschaft Sued (Southern Comrades), a group that wanted to overthrow German democracy and replace it with an authoritarian Nazi-style regime, the presiding judge said.

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