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Friday, November 26, 2004; Page A27

U.S. Deserter Jenkins To Be Freed This Week

TOKYO -- U.S. Army deserter Charles Robert Jenkins will be released this week from a jail near Tokyo, six days earlier than planned, a media report said Thursday.

Jenkins, who was convicted of desertion to North Korea and aiding the enemy in a Nov. 3 court-martial and sentenced to 30 days' imprisonment, will be released at a U.S. naval base in Yokosuka on Saturday, the Kyodo news agency reported, citing unnamed sources.


Heavy rains cause floods in Panama. (Kathryn Cook - AP)

Jenkins deserted his U.S. Army unit along the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea in January 1965. After defecting to the North, he met and married a Japanese woman, Hitomi Soga, who had been kidnapped by North Korean agents. They had two daughters.

The Japanese government was able to secure Soga's release from the tightly controlled communist country in October 2002, and she resettled in Japan.

Jenkins was discharged from a Japanese hospital on Sept. 11 and immediately turned himself in to U.S. military authorities in Japan. After arranging a plea bargain, he was court-martialed and convicted at a U.S. Army base near Tokyo.

THE MIDDLE EAST

• SANAA, Yemen -- Yemeni authorities have released 113 militants belonging to the al Qaeda network, including at least five who were once accused of involvement in the deadly bombing of the USS Cole, after they recanted their extremist views, security officials said Thursday.

The militants once accused in the USS Cole bombing were later cleared. The 15 Yemeni militants convicted in August of involvement in the 2000 bombing, which killed 17 U.S. sailors, were not released.

The 113 men were released during the past two weeks after signing pledges not to carry out terror acts or criminal activities.

ASIA

• RANGOON, Burma -- Burma announced that it would release more than 5,000 prisoners, and a senior official said a top dissident who was democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's closest aide would also be freed before long.

State television and radio said 5,311 inmates would be released from various prisons, in addition to the 3,937 prisoners whose release was announced Nov. 19.

The military, which has ruled Burma in one form or another since 1962, said those to be freed had been jailed "inappropriately" by the military intelligence service headed by then-Prime Minister Khin Nyunt, who was purged last month.

EUROPE


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