- - Thursday, March 24, 2011

IRAN

U.N. names human rights investigator on Iran

GENEVA | The United Nations‘ top human rights body appointed a special investigator to look into human rights abuses in Iran, overcoming resistance from nations that considered it meddling with that country’s internal affairs.

The vote marks the first time since it was formed five years ago that the U.N. Human Rights Council has created such an investigative position for a U.N. member nation rather than merely extend the mandate of a previously existing one.

All of the previous country-specific investigators were created by the former U.N. Commission on Human Rights, long criticized for being dominated by countries with dubious rights records, that the new council replaced.

RUSSIA

Court convicts 6 in freighter hijacking

MOSCOW | A Russian court convicted six men Thursday for the 2009 hijacking of a freighter with a Russian crew that caused an international uproar.

Russian authorities said the Arctic Sea freighter was seized by pirates in the Baltic Sea after leaving Finland with a load of timber. But speculation persisted that it was carrying clandestine cargo, possibly Russian S-300 surface-to-air missiles for Iran or Syria. Russian officials have denied those claims.

The men received prison terms ranging from seven to 12 years after being convicted of piracy charges, said a spokeswoman for the Arkhangelsk Region Court. Their attorneys said they would appeal the verdict.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Dubai police stop Yemen-bound weapons

DUBAI | Dubai police seized 16,000 Turkish-made pistols hidden in a sea cargo shipment bound for Yemen, officials said Thursday.

Authorities said the guns were headed to Yemen’s restive Saada region, where Shiite rebels have fought government forces for years.

Dubai’s government described the find as the largest arms shipment of its kind discovered in the region.

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