- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 29, 2009

LIBYA

Lockerbie bomber appeals conviction

EDINBURGH | An appeal into the conviction of a Libyan jailed for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie got under way in a packed courtroom Tuesday.

Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, 57, who is terminally ill with prostate cancer, has spent 10 years behind bars for the terrorist attack that killed 270 people, most of them Americans.

Al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah were prosecuted in The Hague in 2001 for the Dec. 21, 1988, bombing, which killed all 259 people aboard the London to New York flight and 11 people on the ground. Mr. Fhimah was acquitted.

Margaret Scott, Al-Megrahi’s lawyer, said the case against her client was flawed. “No jury - properly directed - could have convicted him beyond all reasonable doubt,” she said.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi handed over the two suspects more than a decade after the bombing.

ISRAEL

Netanyahu may accept two states

JERUSALEM | Israel’s defense minister said in an interview published Tuesday that he expects Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to agree to the principle of Palestinian statehood - something the Israeli leader has balked at doing since taking office a month ago.

Mr. Netanyahu is coming under increasing pressure from Washington to resume peacemaking with the Palestinians, a process designed ultimately to create a Palestinian state that would live alongside Israel peacefully within fixed borders.

Mr. Netanyahu, set to visit the White House next month, has stopped short of endorsing a separate Palestinian state.

In an interview with the Ha’aretz daily, Defense Minister Ehud Barak suggested that Mr. Netanyahu could relent.

IRAN

French join reporter on hunger strike

PARIS | More than a dozen people in Paris have launched a hunger strike in support of an American journalist who is in jail in Tehran.

The journalist, Roxana Saberi, has been on a hunger strike for a week. She began refusing food after being sentenced by a court in Iran to eight years in prison for purportedly spying for the United States.

Jean-Francois Julliard, the secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders, and a group of the organization’s supporters were seated on the sidewalk in front of the Paris offices of Iran Air, the Iranian national airline, to stage their protest.

IRAQ

Al-Baghdadi identified

BAGHDAD | The Iraqi government for the first time has displayed a picture of a man it says is the purported leader of an al Qaeda front group.

An Iraqi military spokesman showed the picture of a bearded man in a black T-shirt at a news conference on Tuesday. Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi claimed it was Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, but gave no other proof of identity.

Iraq’s government announced al-Baghdadi’s capture last week, but the claim was met with skepticism because of similar announcements that proved false. In the past, U.S. officials have suggest al-Baghdadi was a fictitious figure created to put an Iraqi face on al Qaeda.

EGYPT

‘Faith Fighter’ pulled from Web

CAIRO | The designers of an online video game depicting religious figures in mortal combat say they will take it off the Internet after an influential Islamic organization complained it is offensive to Muslims and Christians.

Italy-based Molleindustria told the Associated Press by e-mail the game “Faith Fighter” was intended to satirize intolerance but was misunderstood. The company said the game has been online for more than a year and played millions of times.

Earlier Tuesday, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which represents most Muslim countries, called the game “incendiary” and “offensive.”

Players of the game can engage in martial arts-style combat with characters representing Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, God and the Hindu god Ganesh.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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