- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 27, 2009

FRANCE

Castration mulled for serial pedophiles

DOUAI | A Frenchman with multiple pedophilia convictions went on trial Monday over the kidnap and rape of a 5-year-old boy, a case that has prompted some in government to consider castration for repeat sex offenders.

Francis Evrard, 63, has spent half of his life behind bars for sexually abusing children. In August 2007, just days after his release from prison, he kidnapped a boy in the northern town of Roubaix, locked him in a garage, drugged him and raped him.

The case caused such outrage in French public opinion that the government rushed out new legislation in response in 2008 that allows authorities to keep criminals in jail after the end of their term, if they are deemed to remain a threat to society.



That was criticized by lawyers and human rights activists who said it challenged fundamental principles of justice, but Evrard is now being cited as a reason for the government to consider new measures against repeat sex offenders.

Evrard wrote to President Nicolas Sarkozy this month asking for his testicles to be surgically removed to free him from his pedophile impulses. Surgical castration is illegal in France, and the president has not commented publicly on the request.

IRAN

Vacillation continues on exporting uranium

TEHRAN | Iran’s foreign minister said Monday that Tehran may agree to ship part of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium abroad for further enrichment, the first official indication that Iran could at least partly sign onto a U.N.-drafted plan aimed at easing nuclear tensions.

The plan is seen by the international community as a way to delay Iran’s ability to build a nuclear weapon by getting a large part of its enriched uranium stock out of the country, preventing it from being reworked into a warhead.

Iran says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Tehran’s final decision over the plan will “will be made in the next few days.”

As an alternative to the U.N. plan, Mr. Mottaki said Iran was weighing whether to buy enriched uranium abroad and keep its own supply. The fuel is needed for a research reactor that makes medical isotopes.

SOUTH KOREA

Stem cell scientist convicted of fraud

SEOUL | A South Korean stem cell scientist once hailed as a hero for bringing hope to people with incurable diseases and creating the world’s first cloned dog was convicted Monday on criminal charges related to faked research, but he avoided jail.

The Seoul Central District Court sentenced Hwang Woo-suk to two years in prison for embezzling research funds and illegally buying human eggs. However, it suspended the penalty, allowing him to stay free if he breaks no laws for three years.

Prosecutors had asked for four years in prison, but Judge Bae Ki-yeol said the 56-year-old scientist had shown remorse and had notable achievements in dog cloning.

Hwang made no comment as he left the courthouse. His lawyer, Yoo Chul-min, suggested in an interview with the YTN television network that he would not appeal, saying Hwang had been unable to concentrate on his research because of the “time-consuming” trial.

THE HAGUE

Karadzic skips opening of trial

THE HAGUE | Radovan Karadzic boycotted the opening day of his war crimes trial Monday and sent no lawyer to defend him, forcing judges to abruptly adjourn the hearing. Judges then vowed that the former Bosnian Serb leader’s trial would begin Tuesday with or without him.

The decision enraged survivors who had traveled by bus from Bosnia to see Mr. Karadzic finally face justice. A small group briefly refused to leave the courtroom after the adjournment and one woman threatened a hunger strike.

Mr. Karadzic stayed away from the hearing, claiming he has not had enough time to prepare. He has been in custody and working on his defense since his arrest on a Belgrade bus in July 2008.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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