25 January 2007 Edition

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International in Brief

World Social Forum opens in Kenya

Thousands of anti-globalisation protestors have marched in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, at the opening of the annual World Social Forum (WSF). Former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda waved the march off in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum.

Set up in 2001 as a rival to the World Economic Forum, the WSF this year will focus on HIV/AIDS, the landless and migration. It will also emphasise the struggles faced by deprived Africans.


US: Hearsay, coerced evidence approved

Terror detainees may be convicted solely on hearsay or coerced evidence and defendants may not present classified evidence unless the Government approves its use, according to a manual released by the US Defense Department last week. The manual describes the procedures to govern upcoming detainee trials under new military commissions to be established for unlawful enemy combatants. The commissions are authorised to sentence defendants to death, and defendants are precluded from invoking the Geneva Conventions during proceedings. The law also allows hearsay evidence to be admitted during proceedings if deemed “reliable” by the presiding officer.


Ex-Guantánamo Moroccans cleared

Five Moroccan men released in 2004 from the US base in Guantánamo Bay have been cleared by the criminal appeal court of Rabat, Morocco. They were accused of belonging to a criminal group and of failing to denounce crimes threatening state security. Two remain in custody on charges of attempting to recruit volunteers to fight in Iraq. The US has released nine Moroccans from the Cuban base since 2004. Morocco says four now remain.


Azeri top crime-fighter gets life

Azerbaijan’s former chief of criminal investigations has been jailed for life for leading a gang on a ten-year murder spree. Haci Mammadov was one of 10 people, including fellow officers, handed life sentences for a series of killings and kidnappings between 1995 and 2005. Fifteen other gang members received sentences of between two and fifteen years.

Among those sentenced to life was former deputy Interior Minister Zakir Nasirov.


Chávez: Castro gravely ill

Fidel Castro is battling to save his life, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has said. Chávez, a close friend of the Cuban leader, said that he hoped Castro would recover but admitted that he faced a hard struggle. Mr Castro, 80, has not been seen in public since undergoing surgery in July.





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