World Digest

World Digest: Israel to Free 20 for Video of Shalit

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Israel to Free 20 For Video of Soldier

Captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held by Hamas for more than three years, is alive, according to a videotape provided by the Islamist movement in return for Israel's release of 20 Palestinian female prisoners.

The videotape was turned over to German mediators, who have viewed it, and will be given to Israel on Friday, when the prisoners are to be released, government officials said Wednesday.

The agreement to trade the 20 women for confirmation of Shalit's condition represents a rare agreement between Israel and Hamas and marks the most tangible step forward in the protracted negotiations over the young soldier's fate. The move comes as the Obama administration is pushing for the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Although Israelis have assumed that Shalit was still alive, a statement from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office said the videotape was "recently recorded" and provided "updated and unequivocal proof regarding the well-being and status" of the soldier.

Shalit was 19 when he was grabbed by Islamist militants in a cross-border raid just outside the Gaza Strip. Hamas has generally withheld information about him, refusing to allow visits by humanitarian organizations such as the International Red Cross. It has also demanded the release of as many as 1,000 prisoners in exchange for him.

-- By Howard Schneider

and Samuel Sockol


Ex-President Fujimori Draws 4th Sentence

A court sentenced former president Alberto Fujimori to six years in prison Wednesday on charges of authorizing wiretapping and bribes. Fujimori already faces the prospect of life in prison after three previous convictions.

Since his 2007 extradition from Chile, the ailing 71-year-old has been convicted of abuse of power, crimes against humanity for authorizing military death squads, and embezzlement for paying his spy chief $15 million in state funds.

Prison terms are served concurrently in Peru, so the 25-year sentence imposed in the murder and kidnapping trial is the maximum he could serve.

-- Associated Press

Honduras Enforces Emergency Decree: Soldiers and police enforced an emergency decree suspending civil liberties, despite promises by the interim government to lift the measures. The security forces raided the offices of the National Agrarian Institute, which has been occupied by supporters of ousted president Manuel Zelaya since the June 28 coup, and detained 54 people.

Guinea Bans Gatherings After Deadly Shootings: Guinea's military leader, Capt. Moussa "Dadis" Camara, banned all gatherings and demonstrations as the United Nations pressed for an independent investigation into why troops opened fire on 50,000 unarmed pro-democracy demonstrators Monday. A human rights group said 157 people were killed.

Prison Sought for Americans in CIA Case: An Italian prosecutor in the first trial to scrutinize the CIA's extraordinary renditions program asked a Milan court to sentence 26 Americans to prison terms ranging from 10 to 13 years in the abduction of an Egyptian terrorism suspect in 2003. A verdict is expected possibly by early November.

-- From News Services

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