- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 28, 2003


Amnesty blasts U.S. on rights

LONDON — The U.S.-led war on terror has made the world a more dangerous and repressive place, Amnesty International said yesterday in a report that Washington dismissed as “without merit.”

The international human rights organization singled out the United States and Britain for detaining terror suspects without trial under legislation introduced after the September 11 attacks. It also accused the United States of violating the human rights of prisoners at Guantanamo naval base in Cuba.

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said: “The prisoners in Guantanamo are being treated humanely. They’re receiving medical care. They’re receiving food.”


Leftist rebel extradited for U.S. murder trial

BOGOTA — A Colombian rebel suspected in the murders of three Americans was flown under heavy security to the United States yesterday — the first guerrilla extradited by Colombia to face U.S. justice.

Nelson Vargas Rueda, a member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, has been accused in the 1999 execution-style murders of Terence Freitas, 24, of Los Angeles; Ingrid Washinawatok, 41, of New York City; and Lahe’ena’e Gay, 39, of Pahoa, Hawaii.

The Americans were in Colombia to help set up a school system for the 5,000-member U’wa Indian tribe in the vast eastern plains bordering Venezuela. Rebels kidnapped them in February 1999 and later shot them. Their bodies were found across the border in Venezuela.

The U.S. Justice Department said Vargas was bound for Miami, where he would probably make a court appearance today.


Army deployed to quell protests

LIMA — Soldiers fired shots and police used tear gas and fire hoses in clashes across Peru yesterday with protesters who vowed to continue crippling strikes despite a government state of emergency.

Police said at least seven farmers were injured in Barranca, north of Lima, as soldiers fired shots to disperse rock-throwing protesters one day after unpopular President Alejandro Toledo imposed a 30-day emergency banning strikers from the streets.

Police did not say how many people were arrested in a series of protests by Peruvians demanding better pay and conditions.


Rights group warns of abductions, slavery

A research group said yesterday it had compiled a list of more than 11,000 people abducted by militia and probably forced into slavery in southern Sudan, site of Africa’s longest-running war.

The Kenya-based Rift Valley Institute said it had copious details of 11,105 persons seized by government-backed militias over the past two decades in the northern Bahr-el-Ghazal region of southern Sudan.


Nationwide strike threatens paralysis

PARIS — Trade unions vowed yesterday to bring France to a standstill with a general strike next week as President Jacques Chirac watched his poll ratings plunge in the battle over his state pension reforms.

In a poll by the CSA institute, Mr. Chirac’s approval ratings slumped seven points during May to just 57 percent — still high but far below the record 80 percent-plus score he achieved in April for his opposition to the Iraq war.

Four trade unions issued a call for a general strike from Monday evening, in the middle of the Group of Eight summit Mr. Chirac is hosting at the Lake Geneva resort of Evian.

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