- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 19, 2008

COLOMBIA

Soldiers convicted of drug murders

CALI — A cashiered army lieutenant colonel and 14 soldiers were convicted yesterday of murdering 10 elite counternarcotics police agents in an ambush that showed how deeply drug corruption threatens Colombia’s security forces.

Lt. Col. Byron Carvajal and his soldiers face prison sentences of up to 60 years. Prosecutors want Judge Edmundo Lopez to impose the maximum.

The convictions came despite numerous attempts to subvert the trial, including a prosecutor’s offer to help the defense in exchange for more than $400,000, senior police officials and prosecutors familiar with the case told the Associated Press.

TRINIDAD

Judge upholds extradition to U.S.

PORT-OF-SPAIN — A Trinidadian judge yesterday upheld the extradition of three men charged with plotting to attack New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, denying their latest effort to resist being sent to the United States to face trial.

High Court Justice Nolan Bereaux said there was nothing in the Caribbean nation’s legal code to prevent the extradition of the two Guyanese and one Trinidadian on charges that could result in sentences of life in prison.

Lawyers for the three men, who deny involvement in the purported plot, said they would appeal.

BRAZIL

Pilots seek testimony in U.S.

SAO PAULO — Two U.S. pilots charged over the 2006 deadly crash of a Brazilian passenger plane have asked for their testimony to be taken in the United States rather than in a Brazilian court, the G1 news Web site says.

Joe Lepore and Jan Paladino lodged a motion with Brazil’s supreme court on Feb. 1 requesting the move under a judicial assistance agreement between the United States and Brazil, their lawyer, Theo Dias, told the site.

The two pilots, both U.S. citizens, have been charged in Brazil over the Sept. 29, 2006, collision between the Embraer Legacy business jet they were flying and a Boeing, owned by Brazilian airline GOL. The Brazilian plane crashed in the Amazon jungle after the collision, killing all 154 passengers and crew on board.

GUYANA

Gang violence kills 12, including police

GEORGETOWN — Gunmen killed 12 persons, including three police officers, in a Sunday night assault on a small town in Guyana, authorities said. It was the second major attack blamed on gangs in recent weeks.

Police said men dressed in military fatigues and armed with assault rifles invaded a police station and made off with ammunition and weapons in the southwestern township of Bartica.

The nine civilians included five persons who were sleeping in hammocks along the Essequibo River outside the police station, Health Minister Leslie Ramsammy.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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