- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 10, 2004

SAUDI ARABIA

Reformists accused formally in court

RIYADH — A court formally accused three Saudi reformists of calling for the kingdom to become a constitutional monarchy and questioning the independence of its judicial system.

Ali al-Demaini, Matruk al-Faleh and Abdullah al-Hamed “took up issuing statements and collecting as many signatures as possible on petitions” calling for changes in the conservative kingdom, said a statement read by the prosecution at the opening of the trial on Monday.

They were accused of “calling for adopting a constitutional monarchy and using Western terminology” in demanding political reforms, it said.

The trio, who have been detained for nearly five months, also reportedly questioned a provision in the basic law that says the king heads the “judicial authority.”

IRAN

Women warned on dress code

TEHRAN — The chief of Iran’s police has told women not to dress up like “models,” amid fresh signs of a mounting crackdown on skimpy dressers still defying the Islamic republic’s dress code.

“In accordance with the law, the police are confronting people who appear in public in an indecent and inappropriate way, and who are regarded by the law enforcement officials as models,” police Chief Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf told the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

“This is social deviancy and cannot be solved by normal police operations,” he added.

LIBYA

Minister alarmedby immigrant ‘invasion’

ROME — Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelraham Shalgham has decried what he called an “invasion” of clandestine immigrants into his country, and said he suspected Islamist terrorists were among the those entering illegally.

“Some neighborhoods in [the Libyan capital] Tripoli are entirely under the control of immigrants,” Mr. Shalgham said in an interview published Monday in the Italian daily La Stampa. “They impose their laws, and drugs and prostitution are rampant.”

YEMEN

President vows to crush revolt

SAN’A — President Ali Abdullah Saleh vowed to press on with an offensive to crush a revolt led by a Muslim preacher in Yemen’s northern mountains, as the army’s losses continued to mount.

“Confronting this stray group … is a patriotic and religious duty,” Mr. Saleh said in an interview with the Emirati newspaper Al-Khaleej.

He said the army’s offensive aimed “to keep Yemen free from any satanic ideas meant to divide it and plant discord among its people by stirring sectarian strife.”

“There is a rebellion, which is violating the constitution in the country by radicals who have linked themselves with foreign parties,” Mr. Saleh said. “And this attempt is doomed to fail.”

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