- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 9, 2002

Riyadh to open jails to U.N. rights envoy

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia The kingdom will open its jails and courts for a special U.N. human rights envoy who is to pay an unprecedented visit to Saudi Arabia this month, a Saudi official said in remarks published yesterday.

"We have nothing to be afraid of. We are prepared to answer any questions," Prince Turki bin Mohammad, Foreign Ministry assistant undersecretary for political affairs, told the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

The United Nations said Friday that Dato'Param Cumaraswamy, U.N. special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, will visit Riyadh from Oct. 20 to 27.


Amnesty faults Egypt for denying prison visit

LONDON Amnesty International criticized Egypt yesterday for failing to grant the nongovernmental organization access to certain prisoners, including researcher and human rights activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim.

Ibrahim, a former sociology teacher at the American University in Cairo and the director of the Ibn Khaldoun center for human rights, was sentenced July 29 to seven years in prison. Ibrahimwas found guilty of illegally receiving financial aid from the European Union and of defaming Egypt abroad.


Iraq warns kingdoms of perils in U.S. attack

DOHA, Qatar Iraq warned the oil-rich Gulf Arab monarchies yesterday of the "grave" consequences they face if the United States unleashes war on Baghdad.

Foreign Minister Naji al-Sabri carried the message to Qatar after visiting Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates all considered allies of the United States.

"We have explained to our Arab brothers that an aggression against Iraq will not stop at the borders of our country," Mr. Sabri told Agence France-Presse before flying to Damascus, Syria, en route to Baghdad.

The war President Bush is threatening to initiate to overthrow President Saddam Hussein "is a menace for all the Arab nations and for Arab national security," Mr. Sabri said.


Berber region split over voting tomorrow

ALGIERS Kabylie, an impoverished, mountainous region in the east of Algeria, appears to hold the key to tomorrow's local assembly elections as Berber tribesmen plan to boycott the voting.

Berber leaders have called on voters to stay away from the polls, just as they did for the general elections in May when turnout in Kabylie was 3 percent.

The Berbers, who make up at least one-fifth of the country's population of nearly 31 million, are bitter about economic and cultural marginalization and angry about perceived official corruption in the North African country.


Weekly notes

The hard-line Iranian daily Kayhan evoked memories of the Salman Rushdie affair yesterday by urging the killing of American preacher Jerry Falwell, while a leading cleric urged Muslims to react to Mr. Falwell's branding the prophet Muhammad "a terrorist" by killing him and U.S. evangelists Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham as well.


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