- The Washington Times - Friday, August 29, 2003

GREECE

Ex-media mogul released on bail

ATHENS — A former Russian media tycoon was released on bail from a Greek maximum security facility yesterday pending an extradition request from Moscow, where he is accused of fraud and money-laundering in connection with a $262 million loan.

Casually dressed in slacks and a T-shirt, Vladimir Gusinsky, who is still barred from leaving Greece, made no comment as he got into a car headed for a luxury hotel.

Mr. Gusinsky, one of Russia’s so-called oligarchs who once counted the independent NTV television station as part of his media empire, was arrested Aug. 21 at the Athens airport after arriving from Tel Aviv, reportedly for a family vacation.

QATAR

2 journalists held in Iraq, Al Jazeera says

DOHA — The Arabic television network Al Jazeera said U.S. forces yesterday detained two of its journalists near the Iraqi city of Ramadi while they were interviewing witnesses about a recent blast.

Another correspondent in Iraq said U.S. soldiers also threatened to fire at staffers in the future if they were caught in Ramadi, 68 miles west of Baghdad, which has been a hotbed of resistance against U.S. troops.

A defense official in Washington who asked not to be named said two persons who had identified themselves as journalists working for Al Jazeera had been detained. He said an investigation was under way as to why they were in the area and whether they were really journalists.

AFGHANISTAN

More Taliban said killed, U.S. soldier dies

KABUL — Afghan forces clashed with Taliban fighters in the southern province of Zabul for a fifth consecutive day yesterday amid reports of the deaths of another 30 militants, a local official said.

The U.S. military said a special forces soldier died of wounds received in an accident during overnight operations in Afghanistan’s Dai Chopan district of Zabul province, where hundreds of Taliban are concentrated. Another soldier from U.S.-led forces was wounded Thursday.

BRITAIN

Coroner to probe Diana, Dodi crash

LONDON — A British coroner is preparing an inquest into the death of Dodi Fayed, six years after he was killed along with Princess Diana when their car crashed in a Paris tunnel, authorities said yesterday.

Michael Burgess, the coroner for Surrey County, south of London, where Mr. Fayed lived, had yet to set a date for the inquest, said a spokesman for Surrey County Council. He said Mr. Burgess, who is also the coroner to the royal household, had not indicated he would look into Diana’s death in the Aug. 31, 1997, accident.

SPAIN

Extradition request of Argentines ruled out

MADRID — Spain yesterday refused a judge’s plea to seek the extradition of 40 persons accused of genocide and terrorism during Argentina’s “dirty war,” saying possible prosecutions in their home country should take priority.

The government asked authorities in Buenos Aires to tell it when the Argentine Supreme Court decided whether to scrap immunity for former military officers of the 1976-83 dictatorship, a move that could see the 40 put on trial in Argentina.

The decision appeared to deal a setback to an investigation by crusading High Court Judge Baltasar Garzon into human rights abuses under Latin American dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s and ruled out for now an international human rights trial.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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