- - Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Stiffer penalty sought for Khmer Rouge torturer

PHNOM PENH | Prosecutors in Cambodia urged a U.N.-backed tribunal Tuesday to stiffen the sentence of the Khmer Rouge’s chief jailer to life in prison and to convict him of new, separate crimes against humanity.

The arguments came on the second day of appeal hearings for Kaing Guek Eav (also known as Duch), who was sentenced in July to 35 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity during the “killing fields” regime of the 1970s.

His sentence was reduced to a 19-year term due to time served and other technicalities, prompting an appeal from prosecutors and angry criticism from victims who called the penalty too lenient.

The 68-year-old Duch headed the Khmer Rouge’s notorious Tuol Sleng prison, known as S-21, where only a handful of prisoners survived. As many as 16,000 people were tortured under Duch’s command and later taken away to be killed.


Carter: Not in Cuba for jailed contractor

HAVANA | Former President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday that he has met Cuban officials and discussed the case of a U.S. government contractor who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for crimes against state security, but he said he is not in Cuba to bring the man home.

Mr. Carter said he talked with Cuban officials about Alan Gross, who was arrested in December 2009 while working on a democracy-building project, but added, “I am not here to take him out of the country.”

“We are here to visit the Cubans, the heads of government and private citizens. It is a great pleasure for us to return to Havana,” the former president said. “I hope we can contribute to better relations between the two countries.”


Officials: Terror suspect captured in Pakistan

JAKARTA | A top Indonesian terror suspect wanted in the deadly 2002 Bali bombings was arrested in Pakistan, intelligence sources said Tuesday.

Umar Patek, a suspected member of the al Qaeda-linked militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, is thought to have served as the group’s deputy field commander in the nightclub bombings that left 202 people dead, many of them foreigners.

The U.S., which lost seven citizens in the attack, was offering a $1 million reward for his arrest.

Two intelligence officials - one in Indonesia, the other in the Philippines - said Tuesday that Mr. Patek was taken into custody in Pakistan earlier this year.


Opposition activist gets 3 1/2-year prison term

MINSK | A Belarus opposition activist was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison in connection with last year’s demonstration against the allegedly rigged presidential election.

Nikita Likhovid, 20, was sentenced Tuesday. Authorities said he was among demonstrators who broke windows at the government administration building Dec. 19.

But his attorney, Darya Lipkina, said none of the 23 police officers called as witnesses in the case identified him as among the vandals.

The demonstrators were protesting what they believe was a fraudulent vote count that returned authoritarian incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko to power.

Police arrested 700 people in connection with the demonstration, including seven opposition candidates. Many opposition figures said the vandalism was committed by provocateurs to give a pretext for dispersing the protest.


Embassy: 4 arrested in U.S. visa-fraud case

RIO DE JANEIRO | The U.S. Embassy in Brazil said four people were arrested on suspicion of selling false documents to people seeking a U.S. visa.

Embassy officials said in a statement released Tuesday that the investigation was done in cooperation with police in Santa Catarina state and federal law enforcement.

Alleged ring leader Jose de Oliveira was arrested Tuesday along with three others.

The embassy said the group had been falsifying documents since 2005. They allegedly charged about $3,000 for the documents needed for U.S. or Canadian visas, and about $6,000 for false Brazilian or Italian passports.

About 70 people used the group’s services to get U.S. visas, according to the embassy, and some still live illegally in the United States.

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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