Wednesday, November 21, 2001

Hanging Iranian saved from rope

TEHRAN An Iranian being hanged for murder was cut down alive from the gallows after four minutes, after a pardon granted by his victim’s family, the evening daily Kayhan reported Saturday.

According to the paper, Ramin Tshaharleng was narrowly saved, thanks to the pardon by the family of his victim, Said Hatami, whom he slain in 1998.

Tshaharleng was then taken to the hospital and his condition was listed as “satisfactory.”

Iran seeks ban on Afghan poppies

TEHRAN Iran, a highway for drug smuggling from Afghanistan to Europe, is demanding a ban on opium-poppy growing in its neighbor when a new government takes power after the defeat of the Taliban, a press report said Saturday.

“We ask the heads of the future Afghan government to forbid the cultivation of the opium poppy in Afghanistan and replace it by other crops,” the Aftab-e-Yazd daily quoted Iran’s police chief, Gen. Mohammed-Bagher Ghalibaf, as saying.

He said that in the past year 1,700 “Afghan bandits and hostage-takers” had been killed by the security forces in Iran’s eastern provinces.

Israeli ex-minister says uprising was unforeseen

JERUSALEM A former Israeli Cabinet minister told a judicial inquiry Monday there were no intelligence warnings in advance of last year’s outbreak of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Speaking to a panel investigating events leading up to the police killing of 13 Israeli Arabs during riots in October last year, former Internal Security Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami said Israel’s police had failed the country’s Arab citizens.

“The police was just another mechanism, which did not provide the required service to the Arab public, so that in effect, there was no police,” he said.

Mr. Ben-Ami said the police, then his responsibility, did not pass their own intelligence estimates on to his office.

“The operational branch did not tell the political leadership that there was any red warning light,” he said.

Syria frees nine dissidents

DAMASCUS, Syria Syrian authorities have released nine political dissidents, some of whom had been jailed for as long as 14 years, a human rights group said Monday.

Aktham Naesa, head of the Committees for the Defense of Human Rights in Syria, said the prisoners were members of the Syrian Communist Labor Party arrested between 1987 and 1992.

“We had requested their release many times. We have received indications that their release is part of a presidential pardon that is to include some members of Islamist organizations … and other political prisoners,” he said.

Syria imprisoned much of the membership of its Islamist groups after crushing a 1982 uprising in the town of Hama in central Syria at the cost of thousands of lives.

Turkish, Greek Cypriots agree to meet

NICOSIA, Cyprus Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said Monday he would meet his Greek Cypriot counterpart, Glafcos Clerides, in Nicosia on Dec. 4 for the first time in four years, in the presence of a U.N. official.

Mr. Denktash said he had received a “positive response” to the third letter he sent Mr. Clerides in eight days asking him to choose a day between Dec. 1 and 10 for an unconditional meeting the two leaders had previously agreed on.

The meeting will be held in a U.N. residence on the “Green Line” that runs through Nicosia and separates the Greek south from the Turkish north of the island.

The last meeting between the two leaders was held in Switzerland in 1997.

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