- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2006


Court scraps law on hijacked jets

KARLSRUHE — Germany’s top court yesterday threw out a law allowing the shooting down of hijacked planes to thwart any September 11-style attack and prevent mass casualties on the ground.

The law, drawn up two years after the 2001 suicide hijacking attacks in the United States, came into force last year and allowed the defense minister to order the downing of a hijacked plane.

It was challenged in the Constitutional Court by critics who argued the state had no right to sacrifice innocent passengers, even if they appeared doomed.

The court deemed the law incompatible with human dignity and the right to life, because the people in the hijacked aircraft would be killed to save others and thus reduced to “mere objects.”


Zarqawi sentenced to death again

AMMAN — A Jordanian military court yesterday sentenced al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab Zarqawi and eight other men to death for plotting a chemical attack against the kingdom.

Zarqawi and three others were sentenced to death in absentia. But the plot’s purported mastermind, Azmi al-Jayousi, and four co-defendants were in the courtroom when the judge handed down the sentence for the 2004 plot that security officials foiled.


Court allows crucifix to remain in schools

ROME — A leading Italian court ruled yesterday that schools should keep hanging crucifixes on classroom walls, rejecting appeals by secularists looking to sharpen the division between church and state.

The Council of State, the highest court for administrative affairs, said the crucifix was legal because it was not just a religious symbol, but also denoted values at the heart of civil society in Italy, home of the Roman Catholic Church.

The case was brought by a Finnish citizen in the northern Italian city of Abano Terme. Laws passed under fascist strongman Benito Mussolini in the 1920s decree that Italian schools and courts must display the cross.


Separatist gunmen kill 4 Chinese

KARACHI — Pakistani separatist gunmen killed three Chinese workers and their driver in a drive-by shooting in southern Pakistan yesterday, just days before President Pervez Musharraf is scheduled to visit China.

The Baluch Liberation Army took responsibility for the attack, which occurred near the town of Hub, near Karachi, and warned outsiders against exploiting Baluchistan’s mineral resources.

Chinese firms are heavily involved in infrastructure projects in the southwestern province. A bomb in the port of Gwadar killed three Chinese engineers in May 2004.


Extradition sought of al Qaeda suspect

OTTAWA — The United States has formally requested the extradition of a Canadian man accused of supplying weapons to al Qaeda, but the process could take years, officials said yesterday.

U.S. authorities say Abdullah Khadr, 24, also conspired to kill Americans abroad. Khadr was arrested in Toronto in December two weeks after returning to Canada from Pakistan.

Khadr’s father, a purported al Qaeda financier and close friend of the terror group’s leader Osama bin Laden, was killed in a 2003 gunbattle in Pakistan. His brother, Omar Ahmed Khadr, is the only Canadian held at the prison camp at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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