- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 26, 2009

INDIA

Gunman charged in Mumbai attacks

MUMBAI | India charged the lone surviving gunman from the deadly Mumbai attacks on Wednesday in a 11,000-page document marking the beginning of a legal process that could lead to his execution - and raise tensions with Pakistan.

Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani, was captured in the early hours of the attacks and jailed ever since. Nine other attackers were killed during the three-day siege in November, which left 164 people dead and targeted luxury hotels, a Jewish center and other sites across the city.

Mr. Kasab, 21, faces 12 charges. If convicted on the two most serious counts - murder and waging war against India - he will likely face the death penalty. Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said he expected the trial to begin in the coming weeks and conclude within six months.

LEBANON

3 suspects freed in Hariri killing

BEIRUT | Three men jailed for more than three years in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri were set free on bail Wednesday, days before an international tribunal was to begin trying the case.

Investigating Judge Saqr Saqr did not explain his decision to release two Lebanese brothers on a bail of $330 each and a Syrian man on a bail of just $67. The three could still be prosecuted in the case, although no one has been charged in the suicide bombing that killed Mr. Hariri and 22 others on a seaside street in Beirut on Feb. 14, 2005.

The judge’s decision, carried by the official news agency, said four other suspects in the bombing - all pro-Syrian Lebanese generals - would remain jailed.

BANGLADESH

50 feared dead in guards’ mutiny

DHAKA | Bangladeshi border guards began surrendering early Thursday after opening fire on senior officers and paralyzing the capital in a 20-hour mutiny to demand better pay. Officials feared as many as 50 people could be dead in the violence.

Home Minister Sahara Khatun received about a dozen automatic rifles from surrendering mutineers at the Dhaka headquarters of Bangladesh Rifles - the official name of the paramilitary border guards.

“The guards have begun surrendering arms after we have offered amnesty to them,” Mr. Khatun told reporters. He said the surrender would be complete later Thursday morning.

The minister also oversaw the evacuation of about 50 women and children trapped in their homes inside the compound since the revolt erupted early Wednesday.

RUSSIA

Missiles seized on way to China

MOSCOW | Russia has intercepted an attempt by a group of naval officials to smuggle $18 million worth of anti-submarine missiles and aviation bombs from Russia to China, officials said Wednesday.

Russia’s chief military prosecutor, Sergei Fridinsky, said the navy officials and some businessmen brought 30 anti-submarine missiles and 200 aviation bombs into Tajikistan for onward sale to China. The ammunition was detained in Tajikistan.

ESTONIA

Ex-official convicted in spy case

TALLINN | An Estonian court convicted a former top security official of treason Wednesday for passing domestic and NATO secrets to Russia in the Baltic country’s biggest espionage scandal since the Cold War.

Herman Simm, 61, the former head of security at the Estonian Defense Ministry, was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison in a trial that was kept secret until the verdict was announced Wednesday. It also ordered him to pay $1.7 million in damages to the Estonian Defense Ministry.

ISRAEL

Olmert reinstates envoy to talks

JERUSALEM | Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reinstated his point man to Egyptian-brokered truce talks with Hamas on Wednesday after the envoy apologized for publicly criticizing the government’s negotiating strategy.

Mr. Olmert’s office said it would replace Amos Gilad on Monday after a newspaper quoted him as accusing the prime minister of hurting Cairo’s U.S.-backed efforts to consolidate the Jan. 18 cease-fire that ended a three-week Israeli assault in Hamas-ruled Gaza.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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