October 14, 2008 in Nation/World

Migrants flee police with town’s help


An angry crowd in central Mexico attacked police and helped nearly three dozen illegal Central American immigrants escape from custody after hearing that officers had allegedly sold the migrants to human smugglers, officials said Monday.

Hundreds of people attacked police as they were trying to load the 34 immigrants into a van Sunday in the farming town of Rafael Lara Grajales, Puebla, state prosecutor Rodolfo Igor Archundia said.

The migrants fled in the chaos, but 21 were quickly caught. Police were searching for the other 13.

After being detained initially, the Central American migrants were allegedly handed over by police to human smugglers who held them for four days at a house. They escaped Sunday with the help of neighbors.

The neighbors then took the migrants to the mayor’s office, where they waited as hundreds more gathered to show support.


42-day detention proposal rejected

Britain’s House of Lords rejected a controversial plan to extend the amount of time police can hold terror suspects without charge from 28 to 42 days, and the government said it would abandon the proposal.

The 309-118 vote came after an impassioned debate Monday, dealing the government a significant defeat. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said hours after the vote that the government would drop the 42-day clause from the counterterrorism bill.

The issue has divided Britons since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks raised fears of terrorism. At the time, there was a two-day limit on detention without charge.

The effort to strengthen counterterrorism provisions gathered pace after suicide bombers killed 52 commuters in London in July 2005.


Younger Depardieu dies in hospital

Guillaume Depardieu, the often-troubled son of renowned film star Gerard Depardieu who gained praise for his own career as an actor, died Monday, hospital officials said.

Guillaume Depardieu, 37, died at Raymond-Poincare hospital in Garches, west of Paris, from complications related to pneumonia, the Paris area hospitals authority said.

He had been rushed to the hospital late Sunday. Family lawyer Jean-Yves Lienard said the actor flew to France on Sunday from Romania, where he contracted a pulmonary illness while filming.

Guillaume Depardieu won the prize in 1996 as the most promising young actor at the Cesar awards – France’s equivalent of the Academy Awards – for his role in the film “Les Apprentis” (The Apprentices).

As a teenager and young adult, Depardieu faced problems with drugs, alcohol and violence.

He had a public falling out with his father in 2003 and that year had his right leg amputated to end years of pain from a bacterial infection that followed a motorcycle accident in 1996.

From wire reports

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email