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S. African charges dropped against 3 at British consulate

A prosecutor dropped charges Monday against three anti-apartheid activists who have taken refuge in the British consulate in Durban, easing pressure on Britain to expel the dissidents before they missed their trial date. If the three had not shown up for today's court appearance, South Africa could have accused Britain of obstructing legal proceedings.

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The six dissidents appealed to the US Embassy on Sunday for sanctuary, fearing they might be expelled on orders from London. South Africa warned the United States on Monday to ignore the pleas. Appeals were also sent to the West German, Dutch, and French Embassies.