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World Scene

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 21, 2007

TURKEY

Devout Muslim set for presidency

ANKARA — A devoutly Muslim candidate appeared on track to win Turkey's presidency despite coming up short of the two-thirds majority needed for a victory in Parliament's first round of voting yesterday.

Detractors say Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul threatens to undermine secular principles enshrined in the constitution, while allies — including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan — say he is a reformer who has worked hard to bring Turkey into the European Union.

A victory in the second round Friday also requires support from two-thirds of the 550-member Parliament, but in next week's third round, only a simple majority is required, and Mr. Gul is assured victory then.

RUSSIA

Dissident freed from mental hospital

MOSCOW — A member of an opposition group led by former chess champion Garry Kasparov was released yesterday from a psychiatric clinic after being held against her will for 46 days, a spokeswoman for the group said.

Larisa Arap, 48, a member of Mr. Kasparov's group in the northern port city of Murmansk, was forcefully hospitalized July 5 in what opposition activists said was revenge for exposing abuse of children in a local psychiatric hospital.

Her case was taken up by human rights defenders, who saw in it echoes of the Soviet-era practice of locking up dissidents in psychiatric hospitals.

LIBERIA

Taylor trial delayed over witness list

THE HAGUE — Judges yesterday postponed until January the war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor as attorneys argued over whether victims of the atrocities in Sierra Leone need to be called to testify.

Mr. Taylor is accused of instigating killings, rapes and mutilations in a quest for diamonds during the civil war in Sierra Leone.

His chief defense counsel, Courtenay Griffiths, said he saw no reason why victims of the war need to testify unless the prosecution was trying to make an "emotional impact." Prosecutors replied that the testimony was required.

NEW ZEALAND

U.S. rebuffed on terrorist detainees

WELLINGTON — New Zealand refused several times to take detainees whom the U.S. wanted to relocate from its Guantanamo Bay military prison, a senior official said yesterday.

"In 2005 and early 2006, New Zealand declined several requests from the United States to resettle Guantanamo Bay detainees as refugees in New Zealand," said Kevin Third, the Labor Department's refugee services director.

The Pentagon has confirmed that the U.S. government had talks with other countries over the transfer of detainees.

GERMANY

Red Army killer freed from prison

BERLIN — A former Red Army Faction member who was convicted in the 1985 murder of a U.S. soldier and the subsequent bombing of an American air base has been freed on parole after 21 years in prison, a judicial official said yesterday.

Eva Haule, 53, was released from a Berlin prison on Friday, the same day that a Frankfurt court announced its decision to grant her parole, said Barbara Helten, a spokeswoman for Berlin's state Justice Ministry.

Haule was considered part of the Red Army Faction in the mid-1980s but has since renounced violence.

JORDAN

Saddam's daughter denied extradition

AMMAN — Jordan indicated yesterday it is not ready to surrender Saddam Hussein's eldest daughter to Iraq, despite a new push from authorities in Baghdad for her to face charges of funneling money to Sunni insurgents.

A visiting Iraqi delegation last week handed Jordanian authorities a list of wanted fugitives, including Raghad Saddam Hussein, the independent newspaper Al Arab Al Yawm reported yesterday.

Jordanian government spokesman Nasser Judeh said that Jordan was "not dealing with that situation right now."

From wire dispatches and staff reports