Dissident Shi Tao
Dissident Shi Tao
is released early
China has granted early release from prison to a prominent dissident and journalist who was jailed in 2005 for leaking state secrets abroad after Yahoo was accused of helping authorities identify him, a rights group said Saturday.
Shi Tao was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Yahoo defended itself at the time, saying it had to abide by local laws.
The group PEN International said late Saturday that Shi had been released 15 months before the end of his sentence.
“We welcome news of Shi Tao’s early release, at a time when there seem to be increasingly long shadows over freedom of expression in China,” the group’s Marian Botsford Fraser said in a statement.
“Shi Tao’s arrest and imprisonment, because of the actions of Yahoo China, signaled a decade ago the challenges to freedom of expression of Internet surveillance and privacy that we are now dealing with.”
It was not immediately clear why Shi had been let out early.
of civilian deaths
Afghan officials accused NATO of killing civilians in an airstrike that left at least 10 people dead in the country’s remote east, while the Taliban on Sunday carried out a car-bomb and gun attack outside an Afghan intelligence office, killing four soldiers and wounding more than 80 people.
Meanwhile, the Afghan government reacted angrily to a comment by a U.S. envoy, who said Afghanistan is experiencing “a civil war.” Aimal Faizi, a government spokesman, said in a rebuke that if James Dobbins’s assertion were true, then the United States had been an actor in a civil war instead of fighting a battle against terrorism.
The airstrike and Taliban attack underscored the chronic insecurity in Afghanistan as U.S.-led foreign forces reduce their presence and hand over more responsibilities to Afghan troops. The car bombing occurred in Maidan Shahr, a city in eastern Wardak province just 25 miles from Kabul.
Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said that the explosion occurred around 1 p.m. and that many of the wounded were Afghan government employees working in nearby offices. Soldiers guarding the compound killed the militants in the aftermath, he said. Khogyani said four soldiers and five attackers died, in addition to the car bomber.
The Taliban asserted responsibility for the attack.
Meanwhile, conflicting reports emerged about the airstrike in the Watapur district of Konar, a province along the border with Pakistan. Many Arab and other foreign insurgents are thought to operate there alongside the Afghan Taliban. Some are suspected to have links to al-Qaeda.
A police official put the number of dead at 15, including four women and four children. But Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s office later put the death toll at 16, saying only that women and children were among the victims.
First Lt. AnnMarie Annicelli, a NATO spokeswoman, said that the alliance carried out a “precision strike” that killed 10 “enemy forces” but that it had received no reports of civilian deaths.
— Associated Press
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