Holder calls Martin killing ‘tragic, unnecessary’
WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday called the killing of Trayvon Martin a “tragic, unnecessary shooting,” and said the Justice Department will follow “the facts and the law” as it reviews evidence to see whether federal criminal charges are warranted.
In his first comments since the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Martin case, Holder said the 17-year-old’s death provides an opportunity for the nation to speak honestly about complicated and emotionally charged issues. He said the nation must not forgo an opportunity toward better understanding of one another.
“I hope that we will approach this necessarily difficult dialogue with the same dignity that those who have lost the most, Trayvon’s parents, have demonstrated throughout the last year — and especially over the past few days,” Holder said. “They suffered a pain that no parent should have to endure — and one that I, as a father, cannot begin to conceive.”
The Justice Department is examining evidence in the case and testimony from the state trial to determine whether criminal civil rights charges would be brought. However, legal experts say Justice officials would likely be saddled with some of the same challenges that complicated the unsuccessful state case. The key to charging Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, lies in whether evidence exists that he was motivated by racial animosity to kill Martin, who was 17 when he was shot during a fight with Zimmerman in February 2012.
“There is a federal prosecution that theoretically is possible, but I’m sure federal prosecutors would think long and hard, given the state of the evidence, whether they would try to pursue that,” said Scott Sundby, a former federal prosecutor who teaches criminal law at the University of Miami law school. “You’d have to prove that George Zimmerman was seeking out to commit the crime against Trayvon Martin, specifically because he was African-American.”
US: Washington does not back a side in Egypt
CAIRO — The most senior U.S. official to visit Egypt since its elected president was ousted said Monday that Washington is committed to helping the Arab country succeed in its “second chance” at democracy, adding this can only happen with the participation of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Deputy Secretary of State William Burns’ meetings with Egypt’s interim leaders came as thousands of supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi held another mass rally to demand his return to office. The protest turned violent as police fired tear gas at pro-Morsi protesters who burned tires, threw rocks and blocked traffic flow on a main roadway running through the heart of the capital.
Rwandan sentenced to 10 years for masking her genocide role
CONCORD, N.H. — A federal judge on Monday sentenced a New Hampshire woman to the maximum 10 years in prison for lying about her role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide, saying the United States cannot be a haven for those who slaughter out of hatred and ignorance.
Rwanda native Beatrice Munyenyezi declined her right to address the court after U.S. District Judge Steven McAuliffe imposed her sentence.
Munyenyezi, 43, was convicted in February of entering the United States and securing citizenship by lying about her role as a commander of one of the notorious roadblocks where Tutsis were singled out for slaughter.
She also denied affiliation with any political party, despite her husband’s leadership role in the extremist Hutu militia party.
“She was not a mere spectator,” McAuliffe said. “I find this defendant was actively involved, actively participated, in the mass killing of men, women and children simply because they were Tutsis.”
By wire sources