- The Washington Times - Monday, October 1, 2012

MOSCOW | A Russian court postponed an appeal Monday by three members of a jailed punk rock band after one of them fired her lawyers.

Prosecutors criticized the move as a delaying tactic, while one defense lawyer said the women were under tremendous pressure, with the government threatening to take away their children.

The two year-sentences given the three performers for hooliganism after they performed a “punk prayer” against President Vladimir Putin at Moscow’s main cathedral have provoked an international outcry that has embarrassed Mr. Putin’s government.

The band members’ imprisonment has come to symbolize intolerance of dissent in Mr. Putin’s Russia and the increasingly close links between the government and the Orthodox church, which have angered many Russians.

Cambodia

Dissident, 71, gets 20 years in prison

PHNOM PENH | A Cambodian court Monday sentenced a dissident radio station owner to 20 years in prison on insurrection charges that critics claim are part of a political vendetta by the government.

Judge Chaing Sinat of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court said Mam Sonando, 71, was convicted and sentenced on four counts related to a suspected secessionist movement in eastern Cambodia.

He was charged with instigating an insurrection in Kratie province in May this year and inciting armed rebellion.

Mam Sonando’s Beehive Radio is one of the country’s few radio stations broadcasting criticism of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government.

Din Sophanara, wife of Mam Sonando, told reporters that the verdict will be appealed. She said her husband was not involved in any rebellion and had done nothing wrong.

The human rights group Amnesty International called the conviction “shocking and baseless” and said it “reflects the deteriorating situation of freedom of expression in Cambodia.”

united kingdom

Detective charged in phone-hacking scandal

LONDON | A high-ranking British detective has been charged with offering to brief the News of the World about the progress of a police investigation into phone hacking at the now-defunct tabloid — one of the most serious allegations so far uncovered in the wide-ranging scandal.

The charge, made public Monday at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court, alleges that senior counterterrorism investigator April Casburn offered to keep the News of the World up-to-date on whether police would reopen an investigation into wrongdoing at the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid.

If proven, the charge would mean that the scandal’s chief suspects were being offered inside information from the police force that would eventually arrest them.

Ms. Casburn, 53, spoke only to confirm her name, address and date of birth at Monday’s hearing. She was released on bail until her next hearing, due Nov. 2, but she did not enter a plea to the charge of violating the Official Secrets Act.

UNITED NATIONS

India decries Pakistan over disputed Kashmir

India’s foreign minister Monday slammed Pakistan for raising the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir at the United Nations.

S.M. Krishna told the General Assembly that India has resumed dialogue with Pakistan and wants to normalize relations. But he lashed out at his country’s South Asian neighbor for bringing up India’s predominantly Muslim state of Jammu and Kashmir in a speech last week by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

“An unwarranted reference has been made to Jammu and Kashmir from this podium,” he said. “We wish to make it abundantly clear that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India.”

A violent separatist insurgency and the ensuing crackdown by Indian forces have killed about 68,000 people in Kashmir, where public resentment against Indian rule runs deep.

HONG KONG

Chartered boat sinks, killing 8, injuring dozens

A chartered boat packed with revelers during a holiday weekend collided with a ferry and sank Monday night off Hong Kong, killing at least eight people and injuring dozens more, authorities said.

The boat was carrying about 120 people when the accident happened near Lamma Island, off the southwestern coast of Hong Kong Island, a government statement said.

The hired vessel was carrying staff members of a utility company and their families to Hong Kong’s famed Victoria Harbor to watch a fireworks display on a long holiday weekend to celebrate China’s National Day and midautumn festival.

The government said 101 people were rescued and the Hospital Authority said 53 people, including the eight dead, were taken to four hospitals.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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