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S. Africa commission ends work

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 22, 2003


PRETORIA, South Africa -- Marking the formal end of its work, South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission warned the government on Friday against issuing blanket amnesty to perpetrators of the crimes of apartheid, and they admonished businesses to join with the government in delivering reparations to the millions of blacks victimized by the former white minority government.

The report, volumes issued by the commission chairman, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, said former President F.W. de Klerk knowingly withheld information from the commission about state-sponsored violations.

The report also reiterates stinging charges against the Inkatha Freedom Party, accusing South Africa's second-largest black party of having collaborated with white supremacists in the massacre of hundreds of people in the early 1990s.

For years, the country has discussed granting blanket amnesty that would cover high-level authorities and military generals, outside the truth and reconciliation process. Penuell Maduna, minister of justice and constitutional development, said Parliament would debate new amnesty proposals next month.

Elsewhere . . .

AMERICAN SENTENCED IN CHINA: Charles Li of Menlo Park, Calif., an American linked to the outlawed Falun Gong spiritual movement, was sentenced to three years in prison by a Chinese court Friday after he was convicted of sabotaging broadcast facilities, the government said.

Li was ordered deported, the official Xinhua News Agency said, but it wasn't clear whether Li would have to serve his sentence before deportation.

The charges against Li appeared to be related to the hijacking of Chinese cable and satellite television broadcasts by Falun Gong followers.

MORE DISSIDENTS ARRESTED: Cuban state agents rounded up more dissidents Friday in their campaign to root out growing organized opposition on the communist island.

The non-governmental Cuban Commission on Human Rights and Reconciliation reported 72 dissidents had been detained.

POWELL, ISRAELI OFFICIAL TO MEET: Secretary of State Colin Powell plans to meet with Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalon when Shalon visits Washington for the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee at the end of the month.

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