Interpol refusesto arrest rights critic

Interpol has rejected a request from Russia to put William Browder, a U.S.-born investment banker who has organized a worldwide campaign to punish Russia for human rights abuses, on its arrest list. Browder was a major proponent of the Magnitsky law in the Unites States, which imposes visa and financial sanctions on Russians deemed to have violated human rights.

The law was passed in honor of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer for Browder’s Hermitage Capital Management, who died in detention in Moscow after he uncovered a $230 million tax fraud, implicated Russian tax officials and police officers, and was then charged with the crime himself. Russia has accused Browder of involvement in fraud as well.

In a statement posted on its Web site Friday evening, Interpol said the request to arrest Browder was politically motivated. On Saturday, Browder described the decision as a major humiliation for President Vladimir Putin. “That an independent police organization would say the entire Magnitsky case is politically motivated is extremely significant,” he said in a telephone interview.

Alexei Pushkov, head of the Russian parliament’s international affairs committee, criticized the decision in comments to the Interfax news agency. “Declaring a case political without a thorough investigation is a political position rather than an investigative body’s position,” he said.

— Kathy Lally

Blast kills 12 during prayers at mosque

An explosion during Friday night prayers in a mosque in central Afghanistan killed 12 people, eight of them Taliban insurgents, and critically injured several others, officials said Saturday.

The insurgents placed explosives in a corner of the mosque, in Ghazni province’s Andar district, before joining worshipers, according to Qasim Deswal, a local official. They had been passing the village carrying the explosives they use for roadside bombs or suicide attacks against Afghan and NATO targets when they stopped at the mosque, Deswal said.

Also Saturday, a would-be attacker in the capital, Kabul, died when his explosives-rigged vest detonated early, the Associated Press reported police as saying.

The mosque explosion in Ghazni came the same day as an insurgent attack on a police compound and a guest house for foreigners in central Kabul that left 10 people dead, including six assailants.

— Sayed Salahuddin

Three more suspects arrested in London killing: British police on Saturday arrested three more suspects in connection with the savage killing of an off-duty soldier that has raised fresh concerns about terrorism. Scotland Yard said counterterrorism officers arrested two men, aged 24 and 28, at a residential address in southeast London. A third man, 21, was arrested separately on a London street at the same time. Police said they used a stun gun on two of the suspects.

Priest who defied Mafia is beatified in Italy: The Rev. Giuseppe “Pino” Puglisi, an Italian priest who preached against the Mafia and was gunned down by mobsters, was beatified in a ceremony in Palermo, the Sicilian capital, where he worked in a poor neighborhood. He was slain in 1993, a few months after Pope John Paul II visited Sicily and urged priests to rally the faithful against organized crime. Beatification is the last formal step before possible sainthood in the Catholic Church.

Bus fire in Pakistan kills 16 children, teacher: Sixteen schoolchildren and a teacher burned to death in eastern Pakistan when a short-circuit near a leaking gas tank caused their minibus to burst into flames, police said. Five other children were injured, three of them critically, in the blaze in Gujrat, 120 miles northwest of the capital, Islamabad. The children were ages 6 to 12.

— From news services