- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 29, 2009

PAKISTAN

Court lifts curbs on nuke scientist

ISLAMABAD | A Pakistani court on Friday ordered the government to lift any remaining restrictions on a scientist purported to have spread nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya, his attorney said.

The interim instruction came in response to a petition filed by scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan and could stir alarm in the United States, which still regards him as a proliferation risk.

Mr. Khan’s attorney, Ali Zafar, said the Lahore High Court observed that “nobody can restrict the movement of A.Q. Khan given a court ruling earlier this year that declared him a ‘free citizen.’ ”

“It is excellent and heart warming and very gratifying,” Mr. Khan told reporters gathered at his house. “I think the people who have been involved in playing mischief with me will get the message and allow me to live a peaceful, private life as a citizen.”

IRAN

Ahmadinejad wants rivals prosecuted

TEHRAN | President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for the prosecution of Iran’s top opposition leaders Friday, backing hard-liners pushing for escalation of the postelection crackdown.

Mr. Ahmadinejad’s speech reflected the increasing bitterness of what has become Iran’s most tumultuous political crisis in decades.

More than 100 prominent opposition politicians and activists have been on trial on charges of seeking to topple the clerical leadership through a “velvet revolution.” But so far, the top rung of the opposition - Mir Hossein Mousavi, who claims to have won the June 12 election, and his allies Mahdi Karroubi and former President Mohammad Khatami - have not been touched. Arresting them would dramatically escalate the confrontation.

HONDURAS

OAS rejects Micheletti deal

TEGUCIGALPA | The head of the Organization of American States closed the door Friday on a compromise offered by Honduras’ interim leader because it would not restore the president ousted in a coup.

OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza warned there will be no agreement to end Honduras’ crisis unless Manuel Zelaya returns to the presidency.

Interim President Roberto Micheletti offered this week to resign if Mr. Zelaya gives up his claim to the presidency. Under the plan, a third party would be appointed to serve out the remainder of Mr. Zelaya’s constitutional term, which ends in January.

GUANTANAMO

2 Syrians sent to Portugal

Two Syrians held at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay have been sent to Portugal, the Justice Department said Friday, the latest move as President Obama tries to close the controversial facility by January.

Before these transfers, a dozen suspected militants have been released since Mr. Obama took office seven months ago and one has been sent to New York to await trial in a U.S. court.

Some U.S. lawmakers have questioned whether Mr. Obama can deal with the remaining 226 prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay prison, on a U.S. military base in Cuba, by mid-January.

Earlier this week, the United States released one of the youngest detainees held at Guantanamo to Afghanistan.

RUSSIA

Ship hijackers say they sought refuge

MOSCOW | Eight men charged with hijacking the cargo ship the Arctic Sea have in turn accused its captain of detaining them, a Russian newspaper reported Friday, the latest twist in the ship’s bizarre saga.

Instead of hijacking the Arctic Sea, as investigators claim, the men sought shelter aboard it amid a storm and then were prevented from leaving, attorney Omar Akhmedov told the Russian daily newspaper Kommersant.

Mr. Akhmedov, who is defending two of the men, also reiterated their claims that they were environmental activists rather than pirates.

“On July 24, my client and his friends took an inflatable motor boat from the Estonian port Parnu to practice using sea navigation equipment, but they were caught in a storm and asked to board the passing cargo ship,” he told Kommersant.

“They could not leave the Arctic Sea because the cargo ship’s captain did not notify coast guards of what had happened and refused to land them in any convenient European port, heading instead to the coast of West Africa.”

The eight are charged with seizing the ship and its 15 Russian crewmen in the Baltic Sea on July 24 while posing as police.

NETHERLANDS

Royals win privacy case against AP

AMSTERDAM | A court ruled Friday that the Associated Press violated the privacy of the Dutch royal family by photographing them on a skiing holiday in Argentina.

The judge handed down an injunction against further distribution or sale of four images of Crown Prince Willem-Alexander’s family that were made available worldwide last month and widely used by the Dutch media.

Judge Sjoukje Rullmann said her ruling applied only to the four photos in the case. She rejected the royals’ request for an injunction covering all such photographs in the future, saying each case must be separately judged for its news value or contribution to the public interest.

The case has been watched closely by the Dutch media, which is bound by a 2005 “media code,” enforced by the government, to leave the royals alone except during organized “media moments” or official functions.

The court ruled that the code “cannot be regarded as a binding agreement,” but the royal family nonetheless had the same right to privacy as anyone else.

MALAYSIA

Muslims protest Hindu temple plan

KUALA LUMPUR | Dozens of Malaysian Muslims paraded Friday with the head of a cow, a sacred animal in Hinduism, in a dramatic protest against the proposed construction of a Hindu temple in their neighborhood.

The unusual protest by some 50 people in Shah Alam, the capital of Selangor state, raises new fears of racial tensions in this multiethnic Muslim-majority country where Hindus comprise about 7 percent of the 27 million population.

The demonstrators who marched from a nearby mosque after Friday prayers dumped the cow’s head outside the gates of the state government headquarters. Selangor adjoins Kuala Lumpur.

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