- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 15, 2005

EGYPT

Mubarak: Protests may hurt economy

CAIRO — Some pro-reform demonstrations sweeping Egypt could hurt its economy by prompting investors to flee, President Hosni Mubarak said in an interview published yesterday.

Opposition leaders and pro-reform activists have staged protests in various Egyptian provinces to demand democratic changes, with some calling for an end to Mr. Mubarak’s 23-year rule. In the interview with the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Seyassah, Mr. Mubarak, 77, would not say whether he will run for re-election later this year.

The Muslim Brotherhood has led many of the protests, although Mr. Mubarak questioned whether Egyptians would accept the ideas of the banned but popular group, which advocates an Islamic government.

YEMEN

Slain cleric’s followers offered amnesty

SAN’A — Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh offered amnesty to jailed followers of a slain rebel cleric if they renounce their extremist ideas, and a court convicted two men yesterday for being al Qaeda members, officials said.

Mr. Saleh, during a meeting with lawmakers and clerics, offered conditional amnesty to some of the jailed followers of Badr Eddin al-Hawthi, the rebel leader who was killed last September after battling Yemeni security forces.

The two men, convicted of belonging to al Qaeda and carrying forged passports, had trained in Afghan terrorist camps a few months before the U.S. invasion in 2001.

SUDAN

Tribunal jails 28 for coup attempt

KHARTOUM — A Sudanese special tribunal yesterday sentenced 28 persons to 5-15 years in prison after finding them guilty of involvement in a failed coup plot.

The court acquitted 53 other defendants, including nine tried in absentia, of all charges leveled against them.

The 72 members of the group present during the trial were arrested last year on charges of involvement in a coup attempt by Darfur rebel sympathizers, purportedly masterminded by the Popular Congress party of Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi.

IRAN

Court frees pollster jailed for spying

TEHRAN — Iran’s Supreme Court has freed a pollster from jail, throwing out charges that he sold classified information to foreign intelligence agencies, his lawyer said yesterday.

Pro-reform activist Abbas Abdi was convicted in February 2003 and was serving an eight-year prison sentence.

The Supreme Court overturned the conviction on May 2, said Saleh Nikbakht, his lawyer.

Mr. Abdi, a senior member of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, Iran’s largest reformist party, was jailed in November 2002 after conducting a poll showing strong public support for dialogue with the United States.

SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO

Mass grave found in Kosovo town

MALISEVO— United Nations forensics experts are exhuming bodies presumed to be Serbs from a mass grave in the town of Malisevo in Kosovo, the second such find in a month, officials said yesterday.

Sources said so far two to seven bodies have been removed.

About 3,000 people still are missing from the conflict between Serb security forces and ethnic Albanian separatist guerrillas.

The vast majority are ethnic Albanians, but about 500 Serbs also are missing, feared killed by the rebels.

In late April, the U.N. mission said it had exhumed the remains of 22 Serbs from a cave in the western Klina region.

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