- The Washington Times - Friday, August 27, 2004

CHILE

Court strips Pinochet of immunity

SANTIAGO — Chile’s Supreme Court stripped Gen. Augusto Pinochet of immunity from prosecution yesterday, paving the way for the trial of the former dictator on charges of human-rights abuses.

The court voted 9-8 to lift the immunity Gen. Pinochet, 88, enjoys as a former president. The decision removes a major legal hurdle for prosecutors seeking to bring Gen. Pinochet to justice, adding to his legal woes after Chilean investigators opened a probe into multimillion-dollar bank accounts in the United States.

The ruling came in a lawsuit brought on behalf of victims of Operation Condor, which they say was a coordinated plan of repression against opponents by the military dictatorships that ruled the South American nation in the 1970s and ‘80s.

BRITAIN

Cleric sought by U.S. faces more charges

LONDON — British police began their own terrorism case yesterday against radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, already jailed in London under a U.S. arrest warrant.

Police said Mr. al-Masri, 47, who already was being held at London’s Belmarsh high-security prison fighting extradition to the United States, was formally arrested under the 2000 Terrorism Act and brought to a London police station.

He has been indicted in the United States on 11 counts, including having a role in a 1998 hostage taking in Yemen in which four persons died.

PANAMA

President pardons Cuban exiles

PANAMA CITY — Panama’s outgoing president yesterday pardoned four Cuban exiles jailed for plotting to kill Cuban President Fidel Castro in 2000, and three of them flew straight to Miami, a haven of anti-Castro groups.

The pardoned men were among six sentenced in April for their part in the failed attempt to bomb a University of Panama auditorium where Mr. Castro was scheduled to speak during a summit of Iberian and Latin American leaders.

President Mireya Moscoso, who leaves office next week, said she freed the Cubans for humanitarian reasons. Her decision infuriated Cuba, which broke diplomatic ties with Panama yesterday in response.

SUDAN

U.S. helps embassy find a bank

The State Department is helping Sudan’s embassy find a bank after its former bank closed its account and no other financial institution would open a new one, a department spokesman said yesterday.

Spokesman Adam Ereli rejected a claim by Sudan that the United States was being obstructionist, and said Sudan’s banking woes are connected to problems at Riggs Bank, which closed Sudan’s embassy and international operations earlier this year after regulators investigated charges that the bank routinely failed to report suspicious money transfers.

BRITAIN

Lawmaker aims to impeach Blair

LONDON — A British lawmaker said yesterday that he would try to have Tony Blair impeached over the Iraq war, but the move looked more likely to embarrass the prime minister rather than drive him from office.

Adam Price, a Welsh nationalist member of Parliament, released a 99-page report that charged Mr. Blair with lying about Iraqi weapons to justify war, and set out the legal case for impeachment.

Mr. Price said that 11 opposition lawmakers had signed on, and he had received interest from some in Mr. Blair’s Labor Party, which has a majority in the lower House of Commons.

It would be the first time the ancient parliamentary power of impeachment has been used in Britain since a failed attempt to prosecute a foreign secretary in the mid-19th century.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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