- The Washington Times - Monday, May 26, 2008

BRITAIN

Student detained over al Qaeda manual

LONDON — Academics at a university in central England say a Muslim student and staffer were detained for nearly a week under British terrorism laws for attempting to print an al Qaeda manual as part of the student’s dissertation research.

The arrest of Nottingham University master’s student Rizwaan Sabir, 22, and staff member Hicham Yezza riled professors and raised questions about how closely authorities should be policing university work. Both were released without charge six days later, although Mr. Yezza, an Algerian, was subsequently re-arrested for violating immigration laws and is being deported.

Mr. Sabir was writing on the American approach to al Qaeda in Iraq, according to his dissertation supervisor, Rod Thornton, a terrorism researcher and a former British soldier. Mr. Sabir’s supporters say he downloaded and sent the al Qaeda training document to Mr. Yezza, an acquaintance, because he didn’t want to pay the printing fee. Someone then alerted police, who swooped in and arrested them both on May 14.

Mr. Sabir’s academic adviser, Bettina Renz, said Saturday that the manual — freely available on the U.S. Department of Justice Web site — was “obviously” part of the student’s research into Islamic extremism.

BELGIUM

Crew survives cargo plane crash

BRUSSELS — A large cargo plane crashed and broke apart close to a row of houses while trying to abort a takeoff yesterday at Brussels Airport, authorities said.

The Boeing 747-200 skidded to a halt in a field at the end of a runway at about 1:30 p.m. Four of the five crew members on board the plane, operated by U.S.-based cargo carrier Kalitta Air, were slightly injured and were hospitalized, said Jan Van der Cruysse, spokesman at Brussels Airport.

The airplane cracked near the tail and by the wings when it slid 325 yards past the end of runway 20. The plane, full of fuel, stopped just 5½ yards from a rail line and 550 yards from houses on the edge of the town of Zaventem.

Rail services to and from the airport were suspended as a safety precaution, but the crash did not affect other flights at the airport, Mr. Van der Cruysse said.

NETHERLANDS

Ex-warlord jailed on war crime charge

AMSTERDAM — Belgian police arrested a former Congolese warlord and ex-presidential candidate in Brussels after he was secretly charged with rape and torture, an international war crimes court said yesterday.

Jean-Pierre Bemba, who fled to Europe in 2007, was taken into custody at his home in a suburb of the Belgian capital late Saturday, one day after the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant, court spokeswoman Sonia Robla said.

Mr. Bemba, who is about 45, is accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity as head of a militia that reportedly committed atrocities in Central African Republic’s conflict in 2002-2003, the court said.

He was to appear before a Belgian judge, the first step in the process of bringing him to The Hague, which was likely to take more than a week, Ms. Robla said.

It was the first arrest in an investigation opened last year, after a request by the Central African Republic in 2004 to the court to look into allegations of mass rape and other crimes during the conflict, including by Congolese rebels under Mr. Bemba’s control.

The court’s preliminary investigation uncovered widespread killings and a huge number of sexual violence cases.

FRANCE

Basque leaders face terrorism charges

PARIS — The purported ex-commander of the Basque armed separatist group ETA and four other suspects were indicted on terrorism charges in France late yesterday, a judicial source said.

The four Spanish nationals including Javier Lopez Pena, the suspected ETA leader, are being held in custody in Paris while a 75-year-old Frenchman described as a supporter was temporarily released, the source said yesterday.

The five, who were arrested during a police sweep last week in the southwestern cities of Bordeaux and Bayonne, are accused of criminal conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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