MYANMAR: Prison for 25 Buddhists
Twenty-five Buddhists were sentenced to as many as 15 years in prison for murder and other crimes during a night of rioting in central Myanmar, after weeks in which it seemed only Muslims were being punished for sectarian violence aimed primarily at their own religion. The sentences issued Wednesday and Thursday did not erase a sense of unequal justice: A day earlier, a Muslim got a life sentence for murdering one of the 43 people killed March 20 and 21 in the central town of Meikhtila. A wave of violence over the past year has left more than 250 people dead and 140,000 others fleeing their homes, most of them Muslim.
RUSSIA: Dead whistle-blower convicted
More than three years after he died in prison, whistle-blowing lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was found guilty of tax evasion by a Moscow court Wednesday. The case had ignited a high-emotion dispute between Russia and Washington that included U.S. sanctions against Russians deemed to be human rights violators, a ban on the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens and calls for the closing of Russian nongovernmental organizations receiving U.S. funding. Magnitsky was a lawyer for U.S.-born British investor William Browder when he alleged in 2008 that organized criminals colluded with Interior Ministry officials to claim a fraudulent $230 million tax rebate after illegally seizing subsidiaries of Browder's Hermitage Capital investment company. He was arrested on tax evasion charges and died in prison in November 2009 at 37 of untreated pancreatitis. Browder, who has been banned from Russia since 2005 as a security threat, was found guilty in absentia of evading $17 million in taxes and sentenced to nine years in prison.
IRAQ: 31 more killed by insurgents
Insurgents launched two days of bloody assaults at the start of Ramadan that killed 31 people, most of them members of security forces serving in Sunni-dominated areas, authorities said. A wave of bloodshed has claimed the lives of more than 2,600 people since the start of April.