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Court releases Putin foe in surprise move

Russia

Court releases Putin foe in surprise move

Not even 24 hours after a judge ordered him handcuffed and imprisoned to begin a five-year sentence for embezzlement, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny walked free Friday, pending an appeal. The surprising about-face thrilled his supporters and set off speculation about the government's motivations and goals in jailing and then freeing President Vladmir Putin's chief antagonist. The release was requested by the same prosecutor who had asked that Navalny be locked up. Supporters of Navalny insisted that an unsanctioned rally Thursday evening by thousands of people near the Kremlin had forced officials to let him go. Other commentators and analysts said his release reflected disagreement and disarray at the highest levels of government.

San Francisco

Vehicle killed teen in Asiana crash

A teenager survived the Asiana Airlines crash in San Francisco only to be struck and killed by a fire vehicle rushing to fight a blaze that broke out on the plane, San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault said Friday. Ye Meng Yuan, 16, a Chinese student, died of multiple injuries from being run over July 6 by what officials believe was a fire truck used to spread fire-suppressing foam. San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White apologized to Yuan's family and said she was trying to meet with them.

Washington

Judge challenges U.S. drone killings

A federal judge on Friday sharply challenged the Obama administration's claim that courts had no power over targeted drone killings of U.S. citizens overseas. Judge Rosemary Collyer of the U.S. District Court in Washington was hearing the government's request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by relatives of three Americans killed in two drone strikes in Yemen in 2011. Collyer said she was "troubled" by the government's assertion that it could kill U.S. citizens it designated as dangerous with no review role for courts. Despite Collyer's frustration with parts of the administration's stance, legal experts say the plaintiffs face an uphill battle.

Elsewhere

Panama: Panama on Friday allowed a retired CIA station chief wanted in Italy for his role in the 2003 abduction of an Egyptian Muslim cleric to leave for the United States. Robert Seldon Lady was detained after Italy and Interpol requested his arrest.

Times wires

Court releases Putin foe in surprise move 07/20/13 [Last modified: Saturday, July 20, 2013 1:15am]

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