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WORLD IN BRIEF

Thursday, March 3, 2005; Page A21

Azeri Opposition Journalist Is Slain

• BAKU, Azerbaijan -- A prominent opposition journalist was shot dead at his home Wednesday in the Azeri capital, police said. A police spokesman said seven bullets were fired at Elmar Huseinov, editor in chief of Monitor magazine, and two hit his heart.

Monitor has been closed several times and fined for publishing stories about top politicians and businessmen. Huseinov served six months in prison in 2001-02 after a libel suit brought by Baku's mayor.

Rights groups have been critical of the government's human rights record in oil-rich Azerbaijan, where President Ilham Aliyev, who succeeded his father in 2003, keeps a tight grip on power.

ASIA

• JAKARTA, Indonesia -- The accused leader of a terrorist group linked to al Qaeda was sentenced to 30 months in prison by an Indonesian court on Thursday for conspiracy in the 2002 nightclub bombings in Bali that killed 202 people.

Abubakar Baasyir was cleared of more serious charges that he ordered the bombings, which were aimed at foreign tourists. He was also cleared of charges related to the 2003 bombing of the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta that killed 12 and charges that he incited followers to launch terrorist attacks.

The five-judge panel said the cleric, 66, who has been in jail since April, would get credit for time served and could be freed before the end of 2006.

A statement read by one of the judges said Baasyir had not been directly involved in carrying out the Bali blasts but had given his approval. "The conditions of evil conspiracy have been met," the statement said.

• KARACHI, Pakistan -- Pakistani police on Wednesday arrested a man wanted in the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and already sentenced to death in absentia for a hotel bombing in 2002 that killed 11 French engineers and others.

Mohammed Sohail was among six people who fired on police at a checkpoint, a police investigator said. The five others fled, but Sohail fell off a motorcycle and was captured, he said.

Another police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Sohail will be interrogated about suspicions that he shot the grisly video that showed Pearl's throat being slit. Pearl, who was reporting on Islamic militancy, was kidnapped Jan. 23, 2002.

• BEIJING -- At least 20 grade school students were killed when a cache of explosives stored at the nearby home of a coal mine manager blew up in a town in northern China, newspapers reported.

• TOKYO -- A magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck eastern Indonesia and was felt as far away as Australia, meteorological agencies said. No damage or injuries were immediately reported.

EUROPE

• LONDON -- A 15-year-old Muslim girl won the right to wear full Muslim dress at her British school in the latest European case involving the religious rights of minorities. The Court of Appeal upheld Shabina Begum's case against her school's refusal to let her wear an ankle-length jilbab.

• VIENNA -- The United States accused Iran of deceiving U.N. inspectors about its nuclear arms ambitions, a charge diplomats said increased pressure on Tehran to accept European demands in talks this month.

-- From News Services


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