WORLD : Czech Playwright’s Appeal Denied

From Times wire services

A court today rejected an appeal to free dissident playwright Vaclav Havel, but the judge reduced one charge and trimmed his nine-month jail term by a month.

The decision concerning Havel, convicted and jailed in connection with a protest in January, was greeted with cries of “Shame!” and “Release him!” from a crowd of about 150 supporters who jammed a corridor outside the courtroom. Havel’s fellow Charter 77 activist Vaclav Maly, allowed into the courtroom to translate for an Austrian legal expert, termed the verdict “prefabricated.”