The week at a glance...Europe



Khodorkovsky movie stolen: A documentary film about jailed Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky was stolen from the director’s studio in Berlin days before its scheduled premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival. The film was stolen along with two laptops and two other computers in what police called “a very professional break-in.” It is the second time a version of the film, by Cyril Tuschi, has been stolen, sparking speculation that Russian agents are behind the theft. Khodorkovsky, 47, a vocal critic of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, is serving a criminal sentence for fraud in Russia; many human-rights groups believe the charges against him were politically motivated. In December, his jail sentence was extended to 2017. The film festival now plans to screen an earlier version of the documentary, which features interviews with Khodorkovsky, his family, and associates.


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Bush dogged by rights groups: Former President George W. Bush canceled a trip to Switzerland this week, citing security concerns arising from planned protests. But international human-rights groups said they had been prepared to indict Bush in Switzerland for approving the torture of detainees by waterboarding and other means. The rights groups this week issued a 42-page “preliminary legal analysis” to provide a legal template for an indictment of Bush, saying a case could be filed when Bush travels to any of 147 nations that have signed the Convention Against Torture. “So if he decides to leave the United States in the future, as soon as we hear about it we will have a complaint filed,” said Katherine Gallagher of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Belgrade, Serbia

Mass protests: Right-wing populist Tomislav Nikolic of the Serbian Progressive Party last week spearheaded Serbia’s biggest anti-government protests in years, drawing 70,000 to a rally outside parliament to demand early elections. Addressing a crowd that featured banners reading “We are hungry,” Nikolic demanded that elections scheduled for 2012 be moved up and threatened continued demonstrations if they didn’t take place within two months. A 10-party coalition, led by Serbia’s Democratic Party, has been in power since 2008. But popular discontent has been rising in response to high unemployment, inflation, and harsh austerity measures. Serbia received a 3 billion euro bailout from the International Monetary Fund in 2009. Most Serbs live on a monthly income of between 80 and 120 euros.

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