- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 16, 2004

PAKISTAN

Musharraf to stay as army chief

ISLAMABAD — Gen. Pervez Musharraf will continue to be Pakistan’s president and head of its armed forces, despite his pledge to step down from the military post by the end of the year, Information Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmed said yesterday.

“The national situation demands that he keep the two offices,” Mr. Ahmed said. Asked why Gen. Musharraf was breaking his promise, the minister said only that “the situation has changed.”

The announcement followed weeks of speculation that he was considering backing out of the agreement he reached with a hard-line Islamic political block to give up his army post.

AFGHANISTAN

3 Americans found guilty of torture

KABUL — Three Americans accused of torturing Afghans in a private jail were found guilty yesterday in a Kabul court after a trial that the defense said violated basic standards of fairness.

The three-judge panel sentenced accused ringleader Jonathan Idema, a former soldier with a past fraud conviction, and his right-hand man, Brent Bennett, to 10 years in prison. Edward Caraballo, who said he had been taping a documentary on counterterrorism, received an eight-year term.

Four young Afghan accomplices received terms ranging from one to five years; one of them burst into tears at the verdict.

Idema said he had high-level Pentagon support for his group’s efforts to hunt down terrorists, but the U.S. military says the men were freelancers operating without its knowledge and outside the law.

YEMEN

Cole trial concludes; death sought for six

SAN’A — A trial into the almost four-year-old bombing of a U.S. warship in Aden harbor that killed 17 Navy sailors concluded yesterday with prosecutors seeking the death penalty for six defendants.

The six defendants, including a Saudi in U.S. custody, are the first persons to be tried in the attack, carried out by two suicide bombers in a boat in 2000.

IRAN

U.S., Europe near dealon nuke resolution

VIENNA, Austria — U.S. and European negotiators moved closer to a deal on a resolution on Iran’s nuclear program that could trigger a November showdown, Western diplomats close to the talks said yesterday.

European and U.S. diplomats haggled over the wording of the latest draft, which would set an Oct. 31 deadline for Iran to eliminate fears that it has a nuclear-weapons program.

The most contentious of these proposals is a demand to include “automatic trigger” in the wording of the draft that would lead to Iran being reported to the U.N. Security Council and to economic sanctions if it does not halt its uranium-enrichment program by Oct. 31.

RUSSIA

Bombing suspect paid bribe to board plane

MOSCOW — One of two suicide bombing suspects blamed for downing planes in Russia last month boarded the craft after a bribe was paid to an airline employee, Interfax news agency quoted Russia’s top legal official as saying yesterday.

Satsita Jebirkhanova was detained by airport police with the other attack suspect, Aminat Nagayeva, shortly before the flights were scheduled to depart from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport.

An airline employee responsible for passenger boarding “seated the terrorist on the plane in violation of all regulations and after being bribed,” Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov said.

The women, both from Chechnya, had been detained earlier by police in connection with “possible participation in terrorist acts,” he said. Their passports were handed over to a police captain for verification, but he released them. The planes went down on the night of Aug. 24. All 90 persons on both planes were killed.

BRITAIN

Fox-hunt backers fail to stop ban

LONDON — Five protesters burst inside the House of Commons during a debate yesterday on banning fox hunting, while thousands of hunting enthusiasts massed outside — some of them clashing with police in riot gear.

The protesters failed to stop legislators from voting by an overwhelming margin to ban the blood sport.

Despite the protests, and after an afternoon of debate, the lawmakers voted 356-166 for legislation to ban fox hunting with dogs in England and Wales.

The legislators went on to vote 342-15 for the ban to take effect in July 2006, enabling countryside dwellers whose livelihoods depend on fox hunting to find other work.

SAUDI ARABIA

British man shot in mall parking lot

RIYADH — A British national was fatally shot yesterday in a parking lot outside an eastern Riyadh shopping center, a Saudi Interior Ministry official said.

Security sources named the victim as Edward Smith, 50, and said he worked for Marconi Telecommunications Corp., which provides consultancy services to the Saudi national guard.

CHINA

Dissident freed from prison

SHANGHAI — A member of a would-be Chinese opposition party said yesterday that he has been released from prison after completing a five-year sentence for subversion.

Xu Guang, a former environmental protection bureau technician, said he was released Tuesday from Zhejiang province’s Qiaosi prison.

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