■ United States
Former adviser charged
A former White House policy adviser, who was arrested in March and charged with multiple counts of shoplifting, pleaded guilty on Friday to a single count, in a plea agreement under which he will pay a fine and make partial restitution but will avoid having a criminal record if he completes probation successfully. The former official, Claude Allen, was initially charged with stealing more than US$5,000 of merchandise from Target and other retailers in a fraudulent-return scheme. At the time, Allen denied the charges through his lawyer and said there had been a mix-up concerning his credit card.
A former police officer has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for human rights abuses in the first conviction handed down since the Supreme Court overturned amnesty laws protecting former officials from dictatorship-era hostilities. Julio Simon was sentenced Friday by a federal tribunal in Buenos Aires in connection with the 1978 disappearance of a Chilean man and his Argentine wife during the military dictatorship. Defense lawyers, however, argued there was insufficient evidence to convict him, and vowed to appeal. Human rights groups hailed the ruling, saying it marked a step toward obtaining justice after the 1976-1983 dictatorship.