- The Washington Times - Monday, December 1, 2003


Poll says Iraqis mistrust U.S. coalition

OXFORD — The vast majority of Iraqis are deeply mistrustful of the U.S.-led coalition policing their country, even if they are happy the regime of Saddam Hussein is history, suggests the preliminary results of a major public opinion poll released yesterday.

Fewer than 1 percent of the 3,244 Iraqis interviewed by Oxford Research International, in conjunction with Oxford University’s sociology department, regretted the fall of Saddam’s regime after the March invasion.

But 79 percent said they have no confidence in the U.S.-led forces in Iraq. Seventy-three percent had a similar lack of trust in the Coalition Provisional Authority, led by L. Paul Bremer. But 70 percent had confidence in Iraq’s religious leaders, and 54 percent in their local leaders.


Rights group lists abuses before summit

LAGOS — A U.S.-based human rights organization accused Nigeria of killing and torturing activists, stifling free speech, and threatening and bribing journalists in Africa’s most populous nation.

New York-based Human Rights Watch issued its strongly worded 40-page report citing killings and beatings by state security forces as Nigeria prepares to host a summit of 53 leaders of Britain — including Queen Elizabeth II — and its former colonies.

Human Rights Watch accused Western powers of ignoring ongoing abuses in Nigeria to avoid offending a nation that has massive oil interests and that is seen as confronting growing Islamic fundamentalism in Africa.


Ex-mayor sentenced for genocide

NAIROBI — A former Rwandan mayor was sentenced to life in prison yesterday for his role in the genocide of an estimated 800,000 people, said a spokesman for the U.N. court trying suspected perpetrators of the slaughter.

Juvenal Kajelijeli was mayor of Mukingo, in the northwestern prefecture of Ruhengeri, during the 1994 mass killings in which extremist Hutus killed hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus in about 100 days.

The tribunal heard that the 51-year-old mayor handed out weapons and supervised roadblocks to make sure the killings were being carried out efficiently.


Pope asked to lead appeal against attacks

ROME — U.S. Jewish leaders yesterday urged Pope John Paul II to lead what they called an international campaign to demand that the United Nations make suicide bombings formally punishable as crimes against humanity.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, made the request during a meeting with the 83-year-old pope to give the pontiff the center’s 2003 humanitarian award.

Mr. Hier said he had asked the pope to be a moral leader against suicide bombings just as he had been a moral leader in improving Catholic-Jewish relations.


Court overturns treason conviction

JAKARTA — An appeals court has overturned the treason conviction of Abu Bakar Bashir and reduced his prison sentence from four years to three — a key victory for the best-known Islamist radical in the country with the world’s largest Muslim population.

However, his attorney yesterday denounced the court’s decision to uphold a conviction on lesser charges of forging identity papers and said his client would appeal to the Supreme Court.

The 65-year-old cleric was arrested shortly after the 2002 Bali bombings with Indonesia under international pressure to crack down on extremism.

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