Archive for Wednesday, August 30, 2000

World Briefs

August 30, 2000



Catholic church to pay WWII victims

Germany's Catholic church said Tuesday that it would pay $4.6 million in compensation for using Nazi-provided forced labor during World War II but snubbed a national compensation fund, saying the church had no part in "collective guilt."

Pressure on the Catholic church has grown since German firms and the government established a $4.6 billion fund earlier this year and called on all organizations who might have used slave or forced labor, including the churches, to contribute.

While Protestant church leaders agreed last month to pay $4.6 million into the national fund, the Catholic church decided not to join that initiative and will instead channel payments to surviving victims through a charity, said Karl Lehmann, chairman of the German Catholic Bishops Conference.


Gadhafi praised for hostages' release

Six former hostages just released after months in captivity in the Philippines sat patiently in Libya's capital on Tuesday, listening to speech after speech heaping praise on the man who helped buy their freedom: Moammar Gadhafi.

The exhausted French, German and South African ex-hostages, some wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the Libyan leader's face, arrived earlier Tuesday in Tripoli.

"Don't forget the name that delivered you from the humiliation of captivity. That name is Moammar Gadhafi," a Libyan official told the six in a speech.

The former hostages, some of whom had been held hostage since April by Muslim rebels in the southern Philippines, were released Sunday and Monday. The Libyan government took the lead in negotiations to win their freedom.


'New evidence' required retrial, president said

President Alberto Fujimori said Tuesday that a military court was obligated to revoke an American woman's life prison sentence and grant a civilian trial because of evidence suggesting she was not a leader of a leftist rebel group.

The decision was "based on new elements" that indicate Lori Berenson was not "a head of a terrorist group but probably a militant or sympathizer," said Fujimori, who had long maintained that the New York native played a leadership role among the guerrillas.

Fujimori declined to elaborate further on the type of new evidence. But his suggestion points to what could be a critical element in a new trial in a civilian court because rebel leadership was a key aspect of her conviction for aggravated terrorism.

The former Massachusetts Institute of Technology student was found guilty of treason in January 1996 for allegedly helping the leftist Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement plan an attack on Peru's Congress. Peruvian authorities say they foiled the alleged plan.

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