MIDDLE EAST

Reformist Publisher Convicted in Iran

TEHRAN--The publisher of Neshat, a reformist Iranian newspaper that outraged conservatives with an article opposing capital punishment, was convicted yesterday of insulting Islamic values.

Latif Safari, whose outspoken liberal daily was already under suspension, was found guilty of insulting police officials and members of parliament and of "inciting people and students to revolt and strike." The Press Court jury was unanimous but did not announce a sentence, according to a judiciary statement reported by the official news agency, IRNA.

Jews Admit Spying, Iranian Official Says

TEHRAN--Some of the 13 Iranian Jews held in Iran on espionage charges have confessed, but they are considered innocent until found guilty by a court of law, a top judiciary official was quoted as saying.

Hadi Marvi, a mid-ranking Shiite Muslim cleric and the new deputy head of the judiciary, told the Iran News that Islamic law required the presumption of innocence for all accused. The suspects, arrested earlier this year in southern Iran, would have access to their choice of legal counsel, and the trial judge could allow an open hearing, he said. However, because of the political nature of the crimes, the accused would not receive a jury trial.

ASIA Chinese Detain U.S.-Based Researcher

BEIJING--Chinese police have detained a U.S.-based researcher on suspicion of gathering state secrets, apparently for seeking information on the Cultural Revolution, a human rights group said.

Song Yi, a researcher and librarian at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, disappeared sometime after arriving in Beijing on Aug. 7, the Hong Kong-based Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China reported.

Mine Blast Kills 4 Indian Policemen

PATNA, India--A land mine explosion in southern India killed four policemen, and police in the eastern state of Bihar said they are worried about violence during voting this coming weekend.

This past weekend was the bloodiest in India's month-long parliamentary elections. On Saturday, explosions and violence killed 49 people--including 38 in Bihar, India's poorest and most lawless state. Seventy-one people also were injured by land mines in the state, where two leftist groups declared a boycott of the voting for 543 seats in a new lower house of parliament.

Bhutto's Husband Faces Drug Charges ISLAMABAD, Pakistan--Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto's jailed husband was indicted on charges of drug trafficking, a government statement said.

Asif Ali Zardari was indicted with eight others by a special court in the eastern Punjab capital of Lahore, said the statement by Pakistan's accountability bureau. He has been in jail since his wife's government was ousted on corruption charges three years ago.

EUROPE

Russian Jets Bomb Camps in Chechnya

MAKHACHKALA, Russia--Russian troops dug into trenches near the border with Chechnya and its jets bombed suspected guerrilla encampments in the breakaway region.

The armed forces were carrying out the government's two-part strategy to prevent further incursions by Islamic militants from Chechnya into southern Russia. The plan includes creating a cordon outside the region and striking rebel formations and equipment inside.

7 Scientologists Go on Trial in France MARSEILLE, France--Seven Church of Scientology officials went on trial in this southern French port city, after being accused of fraud in connection with fees charged for spiritual purification.

The two men and five women face up to five years in prison on charges of fraud, violence and illegally practicing medicine. One woman, who sent a medical certificate from her home in Los Angeles, was being tried in her absence.

AFRICA U.N. Suspends Somalia Work Over Killing

NAIROBI--U.N. agencies suspended all activities in southern Somalia for at least five days in response to last week's ambush killing of an aid worker, a spokeswoman said.

A senior UNICEF official, Ayub Sheikh Yerow, was killed by gunmen in an ambush on the road between Jowhar and Afgoi in central Somalia, about 45 miles north of the capital, Mogadishu. Two other doctors working on aid projects in southern Somalia also have been killed in the past month--one a representative of the World Health Organization in the port of Kismayu and the other a member of a Dutch aid group.

AMERICAS Cuba Rules on Immigrant Smuggling Case

HAVANA--A Cuban court has sentenced two U.S. residents for their role in a botched attempt to smuggle Cubans to Florida, according to court papers.

The sentence condemned Joel Dorta Garcia and David Garcia Capote, two Americans of Cuban origin, to life and 30 years, respectively, for the July 3 smuggling attempt. One passenger drowned in that incident.

A third accused man, Pedro Cordova Gonzalez, a Cuban who had assisted the failed attempt to smuggle 14 people in a speedboat, was given a 15-year jail sentence by the Havana People's Provincial Court.

Menem Condemns Damage to Jewish Site

BUENOS AIRES--President Carlos Menem said he was appalled at the destruction of more than 60 tombs in a Jewish cemetery near the Argentine capital before the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) holiday.

"It is an act to be condemned in every sense," Menem told reporters after Sunday's discovery that vandals had struck the La Tablada cemetery just outside Buenos Aires. Vandals smashed the tombs over the weekend but left no graffiti.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Once again France is creating the most idiotic laws in the world.

-- Jean-Francois Leroy, director of a photojournalism festival, protesting a proposed law that would protect subjects of photographs from embarrassing depictions. Page A13