IN BRIEF

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) Police armed with assault rifles swarmed over a court yesterday after judges dismissed charges against a Christian boy sentenced to hang for insulting Islam.

Hundreds of Muslim militants railed against the decision and vowed revenge. Some wept and others smashed traffic signals.

Salamat Masih and his uncle, Rehmat Masih, had been convicted of scrawling anti-Islamic graffiti on a mosque wall, a crime that carries a mandatory death penalty in Pakistan.

Two judges in the Lahore High Court ruled yesterday that there was no evidence against the teen and his uncle. The slogans were immediately rubbed off the wall and witnesses refused to repeat them in court on the grounds that they were too offensive.

Outside the court, extremists vowed to kill the defendants, judges and lawyers in the case.

''Not only will we come out on the streets, but we will also take extreme steps,'' warned Hafiz Ahmed Baksh, secretary general of the militant Sunni Muslim group known as the Guardians of the Friends of the Prophet.

LOS ANGELES (AP) Melvin Franklin, an original member of The Temptations, died of heart failure yesterday. He was 52.

Last week, Franklin was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center following a series of seizures, said hospital spokesman Ron Wise.

''He sustained significant neurological damage, which was complicated by diabetes and other medical problems,'' Wise said.

The Temptations formed in Detroit in 1962 with members Otis Williams, Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams, Eldridge Bryant and Franklin.

The group scored hits with such songs as ''The Way You Do the Things You Do,'' ''My Girl,'' ''It's Growing,'' ''Since I Lost My Baby,'' ''Don't Look Back,'' ''Get Ready,'' ''All I Need,'' ''You're My Everything,'' ''Just My Imagination'' and ''Papa Was a Rolling Stone.''

By 1982, The Temptations had sold an estimated 22 million records.

Born Oct. 12, 1942, in Montgomery, Ala., Franklin was a member of the Elgins, renamed the Primes, and began recording for Motown in 1960. The group became The Temptations two years later.

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