- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 1, 2004


Al Qaeda trial halted by procedural foul-up

ISTANBUL — The trial of 69 suspected members of a Turkish al Qaeda cell accused in a string of November suicide bombings in Istanbul was postponed yesterday after the court ruled that it did not have the authority to hear the case.

Parliament last month abolished state security courts such as the one hearing this trial, but that order does not come into force for about another month. The reform was approved as part of Turkey’s bid to join the European Union.

The trial opened yesterday, but the court said it no longer had the authority to hear the case.

The November bombings targeted two synagogues, the British Consulate and the local headquarters of a London-based bank, killing 61 persons.


Bombers hit mosque, killing at least 15

KARACHI — A bomb killed at least 15 persons at evening prayers in a Shi’ite mosque yesterday in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi, where a senior cleric from the majority Sunni sect was fatally shot a day earlier.

Doctors said they had counted 15 dead and at least 55 wounded, a dozen critically, while wailing men and women searched in the darkness for relatives believed buried in rubble under the mosque.

Authorities had feared fresh sectarian violence after the killing Sunday of Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai, a radical preacher, and thousands of police were on duty at the city’s mosques in anticipation of a backlash.


Oil exports reported to reach $10 billion

NEW YORK — Iraqi crude oil sales since last year’s U.S.-led invasion have topped $10 billion, the U.S.-led authority governing Iraq said yesterday.

The Coalition Provisional Authority had deposited $10 billion in its Development Fund for Iraq as of Thursday, it said in an Internet posting.

Apart from the Web site, the Coalition Provisional Authority provides no public data on sales of Iraqi oil, such as volume or price information or the reasons for weekly fluctuations in deposits into the fund.


Court declares right to prosecute Taylor

FREETOWN — Sierra Leone’s U.N.-backed war crimes court ruled yesterday that it had the right to try former Liberian President Charles Taylor for his role in a decade-long civil war.

The ruling is likely to increase pressure on Nigeria to hand over Mr. Taylor, who has been living in exile there since August. Mr. Taylor said he should be entitled to immunity because of his former role as head of state.

Mr. Taylor is accused of providing financial and military support to rebels in Sierra Leone who became notorious for hacking off civilians’ limbs, in return for access to the former British colony’s diamond fields.


Torture systematic, rights group reports

CAIRO — Police in Egypt regularly beat suspects and use electric shocks to extract confessions, the main Egyptian human rights group said in a report received yesterday.

“Torture in Egypt is systematic,” it said.

Between April 2003 and April 2004, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights recorded 41 cases of torture, 15 of which it suspects led to death. The group recorded 412 cases of torture and 120 deaths suspected to be related since 1993.

The Egyptian government says any cases of torture are isolated and that it prosecutes torturers.

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