- The Washington Times - Friday, March 23, 2001

Bill would let POWs sue Japanese firms

American prisoners of war forced into slave labor in Japan during World War II must have the right to sue those companies, House members said yesterday as they introduced legislation targeted not at Japan but at the U.S. government.

"Our own State Department is the biggest obstacle to justice," impeding the POWs' lawsuits against Japanese companies that forced them to work for years while they were beaten, starved and denied medical care, said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, who co-authored the bill with Rep. Michael M. Honda, California Democrat.

The department has said the 1951 peace treaty between the United States and Japan prohibits the lawsuits against the private companies many of them now household names in the United States, such as Mitsubishi Corp., Mitsui & Co., and Nippon Steel Corp.

Former congressman indicted for fraud

PHILADELPHIA Former U.S. Rep. Edward Mezvinsky was indicted yesterday on charges that he lied to banks and defrauded clients, including his mother-in-law, in a $10.4 million scheme.

Mr. Mezvinsky, 64, who represented Iowa from 1973 to 1977, was charged with 56 counts of fraud and related offenses in an indictment handed up by a federal grand jury.

The indictment said that Mr. Mezvinsky, while working as a lawyer from 1989 though 1999, incurred large personal and business losses. To meet his expenses, Mr. Mezvinsky made false statements to banks, forged bank statements and embezzled money from clients, the indictment said.

Police officers arrested on federal drug charges

SAN ANTONIO Twelve persons, including 10 law enforcement officers, were arrested yesterday on federal charges of theft and drug-trafficking.

The FBI arrested eight San Antonio police officers and a Bexar County constable on charges they used their badges and guns to protect drug shipments. A Bexar County Sheriff's deputy was charged with stealing $2000.

Two San Antonio residents also were arrested.

"On the Road" scroll to be auctioned

NEW YORK Fifty years ago, American author Jack Kerouac sat at a typewriter and pounded out in 20 days, on one long continuous scroll, "On the Road," a book that established Kerouac as an icon for generations of readers.

Auction house Christie's yesterday said that on May 22 it will auction the 120-foot-long scroll with an estimated value of $1 million to $1.5 million.

Lawyer says suspect was tricked by FBI

NEW YORK The attorney for a man accused of organizing a battalion for terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden said her client was tricked by the FBI and secretly brought to the United States to stand trial.

Mohamed Suleiman al Nalfi was arrested last fall in Kenya after being lured from his home in the Sudan, his attorney said. He was then brought to New York and held for trial.

Mr. al Nalfi is not charged with any role in the embassy attacks. Marion A. Seltzer, al Nalfi's attorney, said in an interview yesterday that the indictment does not accuse Mr. al Nalfi of doing anything to aid bin Laden after 1993.

Mr. al Nalfi was added to an indictment accusing nearly two dozen men of taking part in the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998. The attacks killed 224 persons, including 12 Americans.

$9 million settlement reached in torture suit

NEW YORK A $9 million tentative settlement has been reached in a lawsuit brought by Abner Louima, the Haitian immigrant tortured in a police station in 1997, sources close to the case said yesterday.

Under the proposal, Mr. Louima would receive payment from the city and the Police Benevolent Association but would drop his demand for reform in the way the New York Police Department deals with officers accused of crimes.

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