Portugal to yield suspected bomber
LISBON — A Portuguese court has decided to extradite bombing suspect Abu Salem to India where he is wanted in connection with several 1993 attacks with explosives in Bombay that killed 257 persons.
The constitutional court’s ruling follows months of wrangling by Abu Salem to avoid the handover. The Supreme Court of Portugal had already given the go-ahead for his extradition months ago.
India reportedly assured Portugal that the suspect would not receive the death penalty if found guilty, Diario de Noticias reported. Salem is also sought on charges of murder and kidnapping and is currently serving a 4½-year sentence for carrying forged identification papers.
Musharraf believes bin Laden still alive
ISLAMABAD —Terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden probably is still alive, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf told ABC News yesterday.
If he is in Pakistan, Gen. Musharraf said, agents from other countries will not be allowed in to capture him.
“We are capable of doing it,” he said. “If we get intelligence, we will do it ourselves.”
Asked whether Pakistan would turn bin Laden over to the United States if he were found in Pakistan, Gen. Musharraf said he would “have to see what happens.”
“My gut says he is somewhere in the border regions [between Pakistan and Afghanistan]. … We hope he’s found in Afghanistan by the Americans.” He added that Pakistani intelligence agents have been working closely with their U.S. counterparts, and intelligence “is very well coordinated.”
Reporters harassed after massacre
MOSCOW — Uzbek authorities arrested a Kyrgyz journalist and forced an Uzbek journalist into exile as part of a media crackdown after the May killings in the eastern province of Andijan, the France-based press-freedom group Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) reported two days ago.
“On July 18, Erkin Yakubjanov, a Kyrgyz journalism student … was arrested by Uzbek border guards as he was investigating the May 13 crackdown on the rebellion in Andijan for Dolina Mira radio network,” RSF said.
“In addition, free-lance journalist Tulkin Karayev was forced to flee Uzbekistan on July 2, following systematic harassment by the authorities,” the group said. Hundreds of civilians died in the military crackdown in the Andijan region, according to witnesses.
Weekly notes …
Surakiart Sathirathai, Thailand’s nominee for U.N. secretary-general, will meet Burma’s junta leader, Than Shwe, Monday for talks on trafficking in drugs and people, according to an official in Bangkok. The official indicated that the plight of detained democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi would be raised. … China’s Vice Prime Minister Wu Yi discussed bilateral economic cooperation with Turkmen officials in Ashgabat this week. She met with Turkmen President Saparmyrat at his presidential palace Wednesday, and the two sides later exchanged views on new energy-cooperation projects. A senior oil engineer and health minister, she was ranked by Forbes last year as the most powerful woman in China and one of the 100 most powerful in the world.
From wire dispatches and staff reports