- - Thursday, September 1, 2011


Police: Prostitute’s friend extorted money from Berlusconi

ROME | Italian police arrested a businessman on charges of extorting money from Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to ensure the man’s cooperation in a probe about recruiting prostitutes to attend wild parties at Mr. Berlusconi’s home.

Giampaolo Tarantini and his wife, Angela Devenuto, were picked up in Rome on Thursday morning, and a third suspect is being sought, police in Naples said. Mr. Berlusconi is not under investigation in this case.

Mr. Tarantini has admitted paying high-end prostitute Patrizia D’Addario and other women to attend parties at Mr. Berlusconi’s residences but insists the prime minister didn’t know.

Mr. Tarantini is currently under investigation in Bari for allegedly aiding and abetting prostitution.

Naples Prosecutor Francesco Greco said Mr. Berlusconi had paid the Tarantini family’s legal and housing costs, with the end result aimed at securing Mr. Tarantini’s cooperation in the Bari prostitution investigation.


35 terror suspects tunnel out, most recaptured

BAGHDAD | Thirty-five Iraqi terror suspects tunneled their way out of a prison Thursday, but most were quickly recaptured, officials said.

Abdul-Raheem al-Shimmary, the head of the security committee on the provincial council, said 21 of the detainees were recaptured soon after they escaped at dawn through a 160-foot tunnel they dug from the prison in Iraq’s northern Nineveh province.

The city was locked down Thursday as security forces, with U.S. air support, searched for the remaining 14.

The detainees were being held at an Interior Ministry facility on terrorism-related charges. Mr. al-Shimmary said they had links to al Qaeda.

The U.S. commander in the region said the escapees were involved in planting roadside bombs and other activities.

Two Iraqi officials with knowledge of the investigation said the tunnel led to a sewage pipe and then to the Tigris River. They said there were indications that the prisoners had inside help, and that officials were looking into how the detainees were able to obtain digging tools.


New laws imposed to hold terrorism suspects

COLOMBO | Sri Lanka will still detain hundreds of terrorism suspects and outlaw the defeated rebel Tamil Tiger group despite lifting wartime emergency laws, an official said Thursday.

An ethnic Tamil lawmaker condemned the moves as undemocratic and said the antiterrorism law the government is expanding is too restrictive and should be abolished.

The emergency laws that have curbed civil and political liberties for most of the past 30 years lapsed Tuesday after the government did not renew them. President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the laws were no longer needed, more than two years after Sri Lanka’s deadly civil war ended and under international pressure to lift the emergency.

But Mr. Rajapaksa approved four regulations under the powerful Prevention of Terrorism Act that became effective Tuesday on a temporary basis, Attorney General Mohan Peiris said. The government will bring them to lawmakers to make them permanent law.

The first two regulations will continue to ban the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam group and the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, which received donor funds to rehabilitate rebel-controlled areas and was accused of financing the rebels.

The other two will allow the government to continue to hold rebel suspects and rehabilitate the rebels who have surrendered, he said.


Suspect’s attorney says ICC prosecutor didn’t do his job

THE HAGUE | The attorney for a Kenyan lawmaker accused of involvement in deadly violence that erupted after his country’s 2007 presidential elections said Thursday that the International Criminal Court’s investigation is fundamentally flawed.

David Hooper, a British lawyer representing lawmaker William Ruto, said prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo failed to investigate evidence that could clear Mr. Ruto or mitigate his guilt.

Mr. Moreno-Ocampo is obligated by the court’s founding statute to investigate both incriminating evidence and evidence that could clear a defendant.

Mr. Moreno-Ocampo was in court Thursday but did not respond.

“You have been given a slanted and wrong interpretation of events,” Mr. Hooper said at the start of a preliminary hearing of evidence against Mr. Ruto and two other Kenyans charged with murder, deportation and persecution during the post-election spasm of violence.

Documents circulated Thursday by prosecutors put the reported death toll at 1,133 and said 3,561 people were injured. A total of 663,921 people were listed as “internally displaced” during the violence in late 2007 and early 2008.

The violence erupted after President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner of the December 2007 vote that supporters of the leading opposition candidate Raila Odinga said was rigged.

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