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China acts to give defendants greater rights

BEIJING — China moved on Thursday to enhance the rights of suspects and defendants in criminal cases, recommending that its handpicked national legislature adopt a series of Western-style safeguards in the most sweeping revisions to its criminal procedure code in 15 years.

The changes to the Criminal Procedure Law were presented to the National People’s Congress and are almost certain to be adopted next week. They curb the power of the police and prosecutors to detain suspects without notifying relatives, to use evidence extracted by torture, and to keep defense lawyers at bay.

Still, legal analysts said, much of the state’s overwhelming advantage over criminal suspects would be preserved. They also questioned whether the new protections would be enforced or exist only on paper.

—Sharon LaFraniere, The New York Times

American in Eg

CAIRO — The last American facing criminal charges here for his work with U.S.-backed nonprofit groups appeared in court Thursday as the trial reopened, standing in the metal cage where Egyptian criminal courts keep defendants during proceedings.

Prosecutors handling the case have raised an array of inflammatory allegations that the nonprofit groups were conspiring with Israel and the CIA to manipulate the Egyptian revolution or even break apart the country. Becker and 42 others are accused of accepting unauthorized foreign funding for unlicensed nonprofit groups. Becker could face six or more years in jail if convicted.

—David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times

Afghan officer sought in killing of nine colleagues

KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan policeman on late night guard duty at a checkpoint allowed Taliban insurgents to enter and kill nine other policemen as they slept in their beds, an official in the Ministry of Interior said Thursday.

The guard, who escaped, was a member of the Afghan Local Police The incident occurred in Oruzgan, in southern Afghanistan, at about 2 a.m. Wednesday, he said. Ahmadzai said he had information indicating the guard was a Taliban infiltrator, although he declined to elaborate, and added that police were seeking the man.

“He helped coordinate the attack and let the Taliban in, and they killed them while they were in dreamland,” he said.

A spokesman for the provincial governor in Oruzgan said Taliban insurgents stormed the checkpoint and engaged the officers in an hour-long firefight. A 10th officer was missing, he said.

—Rod Nordland, The New York Times