- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 13, 2009


Judiciary rejects rape claims

TEHRAN | A high-level Iranian judicial panel rejected claims made by a pro-reform presidential candidate that detained protesters were raped and demanded those making the allegations be prosecuted, the state news agency said Saturday.

The ruling ratchets up the pressure on Mehdi Karroubi, one of the most prominent reformist leaders challenging the legitimacy of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election and the entire governing system. The decision could well be a prelude to his own arrest, following earlier calls by hard-line religious and security officials for his prosecution.

The Supreme National Security Council, Iran’s top security decision-making body, also on Saturday banned the media from publishing any reports about Mr. Karroubi and fellow reformist leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, suggesting an intensification of the efforts to silence them.


Micheletti says U.S. revoked visas

TEGUCIGALPA | The United States has revoked the visas of Honduras’ interim president and 16 other top officials to pressure the Central American country to reinstate ousted leader Manuel Zelaya, Honduras’ government said Saturday.

Interim President Roberto Micheletti said losing his diplomatic and tourist visas would not weaken his rejection of the return of Mr. Zelaya, who was toppled in a June 28 military-backed coup and flown into exile.

Washington on Friday revoked the diplomatic and tourist visas for 14 Supreme Court judges, the foreign-relations secretary and Honduras’ attorney general, presidential spokeswoman Marcia de Villeda said Saturday. U.S. State Department spokesman Darby Holladay said he could not comment.


President faints in Tel Aviv

JERUSALEM | Israeli President Shimon Peres was rushed to a hospital Saturday night after he fainted on stage while speaking at an event in Tel Aviv.

Mr. Peres, 86, passed out while answering questions from the crowd, paramedics told Israeli media. The president fainted and regained consciousness on his own a few seconds later, they added.

Initially, Mr. Peres refused to be taken to the hospital, but eventually agreed to go to Tel Hashomer hospital in Tel Aviv for a checkup.


Three sentenced in needle attacks

BEIJING | A court in western China’s Xinjiang region sentenced three people to up to 15 years in prison Saturday in the first trials over a series of mysterious syringe attacks that led to mass protests against the local government.

The three, all ethnic Uighurs, were sentenced by the Intermediate People’s Court in the regional capital, Urumqi, state media reported.

About 500 people have reported being attacked in the city, but only about 100 have showed evidence of being pricked. None have suffered from illness, poisoning or other effects.


Bombs kill four at Shi’ite shrine

BAGHDAD | Two bombs exploded back to back near a Shi’ite shrine in central Baghdad where worshippers had gathered in prayer Saturday, killing four people and injuring 24, police and hospital officials said.

The first bomb went off next to the tomb of a revered ninth-century religious figure, Sheik Othman al-Omari. Then a car bomb exploded in a nearby parking lot as crowds were gathering. The blasts damaged the shrine and blew out the windows of neighboring buildings.

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