- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 16, 2002

Lawmakers protest Kazakh detention

A group of 20 U.S. congressmen sent a letter to President Bush yesterday protesting the detention of a leading investigative journalist in Kazakhstan on rape charges. Sergei Duvanov had been investigating questionable financial dealings by Kazkahstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

International press watchdog groups have denounced the charges against Mr. Duvanov, who faces 10 years in jail if convicted. He was arrested a day before a planned trip to Washington to discuss repression in the former Soviet republic.

The lawmakers who include House International Relations Committee Chairman Henry J. Hyde, Illinois Republican asked Mr. Bush to seek Mr. Duvanov's immediate release and an examination of the charges by independent legal experts.

Denissa Duvanova, the journalist's daughter, told The Washington Times in an interview this week that the charges were a politically motivated effort to silence her father.

Colombian army frees kidnapped bishop

BOGOTA, Colombia Soldiers rescued a kidnapped Colombian bishop yesterday after a battle with the rebels who were holding him, government officials said.

Bishop Jorge Enrique Jimenez, president of the Latin American Bishops Conference, was unharmed, an army spokeswoman said. The Rev. Desiderio Orjuela, who was kidnapped Monday along with Bishop Jimenez, was also freed.

The military has blamed the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, for the clerics' abductions.

Nepalese rebels storm towns; 118 killed

KATMANDU, Nepal Thousands of Maoist rebels stormed two remote Nepalese towns, fighting pitched battles with security forces in which at least 118 persons were killed, officials said yesterday.

About 3,000 rebels stormed the town of Jumla, 370 miles northwest of Katmandu and used villagers as human shields during the nightlong gunbattle. At least 95 persons, including 55 guerrillas and 37 security men, were killed in the fighting.

In another attack Thursday evening, at least 23 police officers were killed when the rebels struck a police post in Gorkha district, 90 miles west of Katmandu.

Belarus leader denied visa for NATO summit

PRAGUE Tensions between NATO and its eastern neighbors mounted yesterday when the Czech Republic refused Belarus' president a visa to attend a meeting with alliance leaders and Ukraine threatened a boycott.

Alexander Lukashenko had been told to stay away from the talks. So had Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, who is accused by the United States of selling an aircraft detection system to Iraq.

Mr. Lukashenko responded by threatening to cut ties with the Czech Republic, and flood Western Europe with drugs and illegal immigrants by opening Belarus's borders, while Mr. Kuchma indicated Ukraine might boycott the Prague meeting.

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