- The Washington Times - Friday, June 10, 2005


Court frees accused in gang-rape case

LAHORE — A court in Pakistan yesterday freed 12 men who were detained for three months despite their acquittal by other courts on charges relating to a high-profile gang rape, court officials said.

The government had detained the men under the public order law after the rape victim, Mukhtaran Mai, met Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in March and expressed fears that the freed men would harm her and her family.

Miss Mai was raped for more than an hour on the orders of a tribal council at Meerwala town in Punjab province in June 2002 as punishment for her brother’s reputed affair with a woman of a powerful rival clan.


Pope reiterates abstinence only

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI urged African bishops yesterday to keep up their fight against AIDS, reiterating church teaching that abstinence is the only “fail-safe” way to prevent the spread of the virus.

Benedict met with the bishops from South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia and Lesotho, all of whom were making a periodic visit to the Vatican.

The pope said he shared the bishops’ concern about the devastation caused by AIDS and that he prayed for “all those whose lives have been shattered by this cruel epidemic.”


Student throws bomb into classroom

TOKYO — An 18-year-old student tossed a homemade bomb into a high school classroom in southern Japan yesterday, injuring 58 teenagers when the gunpowder-filled jar exploded and sprayed shards of glass near the teacher’s desk, officials said.

Police arrested the suspect and were questioning him about the attack at Hikari High School in Yamaguchi state, but said his motive remained unknown.

All of the 58 students treated at hospitals were ages 17 or 18. They included 37 students in the targeted classroom as well as students in a neighboring room who experienced earaches or shock, officials said.


Parliament member killed in attack

BISHKEK — A Kyrgyz lawmaker who was a close ally of the country’s former leader was gunned down yesterday, officials said.

Jyrgalbek Surabaldiyev was fatally shot by two unidentified assailants as he was getting into his car, said Kyrgyz Interior Minister Murat Sutalinov.

Mr. Surabaldiyev was a strong supporter of longtime President Askar Akayev, who was ousted in March’s popular uprising and fled to Russia. Some of Mr. Surabaldiyev’s political foes accused him of organizing widespread looting in the Kyrgyz capital after Mr. Akayev’s ouster.


Physician faces murder charges

SYDNEY — An Indian-trained surgeon linked by health officials to the deaths of at least 87 patients in Australia over two years should be charged with murder, a government inquiry recommended yesterday.

Jayant Patel, an Indian-born U.S. citizen, was hired in Australia in 2003 despite having been cited for negligence in Oregon and in New York, where he was forced to surrender his license in 2001.

The Commission of Inquiry investigating Dr. Patel’s practice at the Bundaberg Base Hospital recommended in an interim report yesterday that he be charged with murder in the death of James Edward Phillips, who died five days after Dr. Patel surgically removed part of his esophagus.From wire dispatches and staff reports

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