- - Wednesday, September 21, 2011

KENYA

Deputy prime minister at war-crimes court

THE HAGUE — Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta appeared Wednesday before the International Criminal Court for a hearing to determine whether he will be tried for crimes against humanity.

“Our duty is to distinguish between those cases which should go to trial or not on the evidence provided,” said the court’s presiding judge, Ekaterina Trendafilova, as the hearing opened in The Hague.

“The confirmation-of-charges hearing is not a trial before a trial, nor is it a minihearing,” she said. “The suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.”

Prosecutors say Mr. Kenyatta masterminded “one of the most violent periods in Kenya’s history” in 2007-08, in which more than 1,000 people died in the wake of disputed elections.

A potential presidential candidate in 2012, Mr. Kenyatta, 49, is the son of Kenya’s founding father, Jomo Kenyatta.

President Mwai Kibaki’s right-hand man, Francis Muthaura, 64, and ex-Police Chief Mohammed Hussein Ali, 55, are also facing charges for their part in the violence. The three men remain free.

NIGERIA

Online rape video angers Nigerians

LAGOS — In a grainy video, a Nigerian woman repeatedly asks her attackers to kill her as they take turns raping her in a university dormitory. The five men only promise to drive her home, pushing her back down each time she starts to stand up.

Local authorities have dismissed the 10-minute video, which has ricocheted around the Internet in recent days.

However, Nigeria’s youth minister is calling for police to prosecute the men. Some Internet users disturbed by it are even offering rewards for information.

Activists in Nigeria say the video exposes an underreported epidemic of rape in Africa’s most populous nation, and they plan to march in coming days to draw attention to the case.

The video circulated for weeks around the campus of Abia State University near Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta before it was posted on the Internet. It appears to take place in a single-room dormitory or student hostel.

Nigerian Youth Minister Bolaji Abdullahi has issued a statement calling for the university and police to arrest and prosecute the men shown in the video, as well as offering assistance to the woman.

ZIMBABWE

Court dismisses charges in ‘Facebook trial’

HARARE — The case against a man accused of inciting a political uprising on Facebook has collapsed, defense attorneys said Wednesday.

Attorney Lizwe Jamela said a court threw out the charge of subversion after investigators failed to retrieve a Facebook message as evidence.

A 39-year old businessman had been accused of posting a message on Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Facebook page urging him to lead North African-style protests against Zimbabwe’s autocratic president, Robert Mugabe.

Mr. Mugabe has been in power more than 30 years and has cracked down on public debate about the Arab Spring, which has toppled other longtime rulers on the continent.

The businessman, whose name was not disclosed, spent a month in jail in May before being freed on bail.

KENYA

Second suspect charged in attack on British tourists

MOMBASA — A second suspect has been charged in connection with the deadly attack on a British couple on vacation on a remote Kenyan island near Somalia.

Issa Sheikh Said denied in court on Wednesday that he was involved in the attack that left tourist David Tebbutt dead and his wife, Judith, kidnapped earlier this month on the Kenyan coast.

Police have charged Mr. Said with robbery with violence and kidnapping.

Ali Babitu Kololo, the first suspect to be charged with involvement in the attack on the couple, told a court on Monday that armed men forced him at gunpoint to cooperate. He said he voluntarily went to the police the next day to report the crime.

After the attack the gunmen fled north by boat to Somalia, where the woman is being held.

SOMALIA

Children win guns, bombs in Koran contest

MOGADISHU — An Islamist insurgent-run radio station is awarding guns, bombs and books to three children in a Koran-recital contest.

Andulus radio station, run by al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab terrorists, announced the first-prize winner in the contest this week. He received a rifle and $700. The second-prize winner got a rifle and $500, and the third-prize winner received two bombs.

All three children also received religious books.

Al-Shabab is battling Somalia’s weak, U.N.-backed government. The terrorists recently have been weakened by famine in territory they control.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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