- - Tuesday, May 1, 2012

CAIRO — Politicians offered conflicting views Tuesday about whether the ruling military will reshuffle the Cabinet before this month’s presidential election.

The Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been pressing the military junta to sack Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzuri’s government and task it with forming a new Cabinet.

On Sunday, the Brotherhood said junta leader Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi had promised Saad al-Katatni, the Parliament speaker, that he would carry out an imminent reshuffle.

And the Islamist-dominated Parliament decided to suspend its sessions until Sunday to protest the military’s refusal to sack the government.

But on Tuesday, senior Brotherhood official Essam al-Eriane said: “There is nothing new. We are still waiting. The ball is in their court.”


Court: Libya wants to keep Gadhafi son

AMSTERDAM — The Libyan government has formally challenged the International Criminal Court’s right to try Moammar Gadhafi’s son for war crimes, arguing that he should be tried in Libya despite concerns he may not receive a fair trial there.

The Hague-based court is authorized by the U.N. to try war crimes committed last year as rebels fought the Gadhafi regime. It has issued an arrest warrant for the late dictator’s son, Seif al-Islam, on charges of killing and persecuting civilians during the uprising.

The court said Tuesday it had received a formal submission from Libya’s new leadership arguing that Seif al-Islam, along with Gadhafi’s former military intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senoussi, should be tried on Libyan soil.


Wife: Bahrain activist keeps on hunger strike

MANAMA — A jailed Bahraini rights activist will not end his nearly three-month hunger strike despite a court-ordered review of his conviction and life sentence, his wife said Tuesday as sporadic clashes broke out around the Gulf kingdom.

Khadija al-Musawi said her husband, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, told her that Monday’s court decision does not change his demand for an immediate release - which has become a centerpiece of anti-government protests in recent weeks.

“His condition to stop the hunger strike is to be free,” said Mrs. al-Musawi. “If not, then the option is to die, and his death will be his freedom.”

Mr. al-Khawaja and seven other opposition figures received life sentences last year from a military-led tribunal, which was created by Bahrain’s Sunni leaders as part of crackdowns against an uprising by the nation’s Shiite majority.

A court Monday ordered a full re-examination of the cases - effectively a retrial - for the group that received life sentences and 14 others given lesser jail terms after being accused of anti-state crimes. Seven people among the entire 21-member group were sentenced in absentia.

The ruling, however, did not mandate their release during the review. Just one activist, whose sentence was reduced to six months, was freed Monday on time served.

At least 50 people have died in unrest since February 2011 on this strategic island nation, which is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.


Court to hear outpost demolition appeal

JERUSALEM — A last-minute legal challenge has put the scheduled evacuation of an unauthorized West Bank settler outpost on hold for at least a few days.

Israel’s Supreme Court said Tuesday it will review the appeal next week.

The court set a May 1 deadline for the removal of the Ulpana outpost, saying it was built illegally on private Palestinian land.

Last week, the government asked for a 90-day delay. Some 30 Jewish settler families live in Ulpana.

The court said it will review the government’s request at Sunday’s hearing.

Israel has vowed to remove dozens of unauthorized outposts but has taken little action. Israel has about 120 authorized settlements in the West Bank.

From wire dispatches and staff reports