Other items: 7 seeking asylum enter Japanese school and Colombian court orders 3 foreigners to prison.

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Britain’s highest court said yesterday that foreigners deemed a security risk cannot be imprisoned indefinitely without trial, a major setback to an emergency anti-terrorist law put in place by Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

The panel of judges from the House of Lords ruled on behalf of nine terrorist suspects, some held without charge or trial as long as three years in London’s Belmarsh Prison, a high-security facility.

While the prisoners will remain behind bars at least for now, the decision will force Blair’s government to consider redrafting the anti-terrorism law and/or bringing the detainees before courts on criminal charges.


7 seeking asylum enter Japanese school

Seven people claiming to be North Koreans climbed over a barbed-wire fence into the Japanese school in Beijing yesterday seeking passage to South Korea.

They carried a sign that read in English: “We are North Koreans. We want to go to South Korea. Please help us.”

Such asylum bids have become common in China, with North Koreans who are fleeing famine and repression at home rushing into embassies, schools and other foreign facilities. Embassies are considered foreign territory beyond the reach of Chinese authorities. Schools typically are not.

China is obliged by treaty to send North Koreans home but hasn’t done so in asylum bids that have become public, instead allowing them to go to South Korea via a third country.

Bogotá, Colombia

High court orders 3 foreigners to prison

A top Colombian court yesterday sentenced three Irishmen to 17 years in prison, overturning an acquittal on charges they were IRA members who taught Marxist rebels how to make bombs.

Jim Monaghan, Niall Connolly and Martin McCauley, who have been hiding in Colombia pending the government appeal, were arrested at Bogotá’s airport in August 2001 carrying false British passports. But the government’s case that they were members of the Irish Republican Army hired to give bomb-making classes to the country’s biggest rebel group collapsed in the lower court.


Ten Islamic militants were convicted and sentenced to prison in Paris yesterday for a plot to blow up a crowded Christmas market on New Year’s Eve 2000 — a bombing that a prosecutor said was avoided “by a hair.”

A secret listening device has been found at the Geneva offices of the United Nations, the global body said yesterday.

Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf opened a coastal highway yesterday linking industrial center Karachi with a deep-sea port being built with Chinese help in the country’s south.