- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 22, 2005

EGYPT

Prosecutor charges presidential hopeful

CAIRO — The country’s public prosecutor yesterday pressed forgery charges against liberal opposition politician Ayman Nour, who wants to run for president and whose case has raised concerns in Washington.

Prosecutor Maher Abdel-Wahed told reporters the case of Mr. Nour, leader of the opposition al-Ghad (Tomorrow) Party, who was released on bail this month, and six others will be handled by a criminal court.

Mr. Nour was accused of using forged documents when his party applied for recognition last year. Al-Ghad dismissed the accusation, and the Bush administration expressed “very strong concerns” about the case.

WEST BANK

Orthodox Arabs vote to quit Greek church

RAMALLAH — The Greek Orthodox Church faced a fresh crisis yesterday as Palestinian lawmakers voted for Arab Orthodox Christians to secede from the Greek patriarchy after its reputed sale of land in Jerusalem to Jewish investors.

The latest twist in the ongoing scandal, which has resurrected a bitter split within the Greek Orthodox community in the Holy Land, came as Greek Patriarch Irineos I denied any role in the reputed land sale in Jerusalem’s Old City.

In a special session to discuss the crisis, the Palestinian parliament passed a resolution urging the Palestinian Authority “not to recognize the patriarch” and “to work through legal means for the Arabization of the Orthodox Church” in the occupied Palestinian territories.

ISRAEL

Shin Bet seeks recruits via Internet

JERUSALEM — Israel’s Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency, under pressure to prevent attacks by Palestinian or Jewish militants ahead of a planned summer pullback from Gaza, opened a recruiting Web site yesterday at www.shabak.gov.il.

Weekly notes

Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to visit the Middle East next month and include a two-day visit to Israel, United Press International, citing informed sources, reported from Tel Aviv yesterday. It said the April 27-28 trip to Israel, the first by a Russian president, is termed “an official visit.” … An appeals court in San’a, Yemen’s capital, yesterday upheld a one-year sentence against opposition newspaper editor Abdul Karim al-Khaiwani, who was jailed after criticizing the government. Judge Hammoud al-Hirdi told the crowded court that he rejected “the request to suspend the sentence” Mr. al-Khaiwani has been serving since September after his conviction of inciting violence, defaming President Ali Abdullah Saleh and “publishing false news.”

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