Daily Digest: Senser given 41 months in prison, Agreement reported in Syria, Egyptian court ruling keeps Parliament apart

by Nickalas Tabbert

Here is your Daily Digest for Monday, July 9:


Amy Senser sentenced to 41 months in prison

Amy Senser was sentenced Monday to 41 months in prison for the 2011 hit-and-run death of a Roseville man.

Convicted in May of two felony counts of criminal vehicular homicide, Senser apologized publicly for the first time to the family of Anousone Phanthavong, the Star Tribune said.

“This isn’t about me,” Senser told the family members.  “I hope you can believe me that I never saw your son that night.  And if I had I would have stopped to help him.  I take full responsibility for his death.”

Senser, wife of former Vikings star Joe Senser, struck and killed Phanthavong as the Thai restaurant chef filled his stalled vehicle with gas near the Riverside Avenue exit off I-94 in Minneapolis.  He died at the scene.

Senser drove away and later turned her Mercede-Benz SUV over to authorities through the family’s attorney the next day and came forward as the driver nine days later.

She claimed at trial she thought she struck a construction cone or barrel on the ramp that night, and didn’t know she struck a person.

Senser, 45, was convicted by a jury in May, the Pioneer Press said.  Jurors convicted her of not stopping and not notifying police as soon as possible.

State sentencing guidelines call for 41 to 57 months in prison.  Senser’s defense attorney asked for probation, saying she has no criminal record, has strong ties to the community and is remorseful.

The sentence concluded a trial that had nearly 20 hours of jury deliberations, the Tribune said.

Senser said someday she hoped the family could forgive her for taking Anousone from them.

“I wish I could go back to that night and change things,” she said.  “I don’t know why, I don’t know why … our fates have come together but if you let me I will do whatever I can to honor his name.”


Syria: Annan says agreement reached with Assad

International envoy Kofi Annan has reached a new framework with Syrian President Bashar Assad and will soon discuss it with rebel leaders, the The Associated Press reported.

Annan, the architect of the primary international plan to end Syria’s 16-month-old crisis, arrived in Iran late Monday for talks with leaders there.  Iran, according to Annan, must be part of a solution to the conflict.

“We agreed on an approach which I will share with the armed opposition,” Annan told reporters following a two-hour meeting with Assad.

“I am also stressing the importance of moving ahead with a political dialogue which the president accepts,” he said, though he did not share any details.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday that 17,129 people have been killed since March 2011 — 11,897 of them civilians.


Egypt upholds ruling to disband parliament

Egypt’s constitutional court said Monday an earlier court ruling that led to the dissolving of Parliament will stand.

A confrontation with the new president resulted a day after he tried to reclaim legislative authority by unexpectedly ordering the country’s Islamist-led Parliament to reconvene, according to the New York Times.

State television said the Supreme Constitutional Court, after discussing President Mohamed Morsi’s order to Parliament on Sunday, refused to reconsider its decision, affirming that it was final and binding, news agencies reported.

The court, which ruled on June 14 the parliament had been elected based on unconstitutional rules, also said it would review appeals challenging the constitutionality of the president’s ruling, Reuters reported.

The ruling seemed to deepen the prospects for a confrontation between Morsi and his Islamist supporters on the one hand, and the military council and the courts on the other, the Times reported.

Some analysts said it seemed likely the army had known of his plans, while others found it hard to believe the generals would tolerate such an open challenge to their power.

“The decree could create a political crisis,” Gamal Eid, a prominent human rights lawyer, said Sunday.  “He has been waiting to make a decision to prove he is president of a republic.”