ASIA

Pakistani Court to Free Islamic Militant

LAHORE, Pakistan -- A Pakistani court ordered the release of a prominent Islamic militant who led a group blamed for an attack on the grounds of India's Parliament.

The court said the government's detention of Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed was unlawful. Sayeed, leader of Lashkar-i-Taiba until it was banned by the government last year, was placed under house arrest on Oct. 31 after being held without charges for months.

Lashkar-i-Taiba, one of the main groups fighting Indian rule in Kashmir, was banned after the United States declared it a terrorist organization last year.

New Delhi blamed the group for an attack on the grounds of its Parliament last December, an incident that led to a sharp escalation of tension between nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan.

Sayeed now heads the newly formed hard-line Islamic group Jamaat al-Dawaa, which this month denounced the U.S.-declared war on terror and called on Muslims to wage jihad, or holy war, in response.

Reuters

Kasi's Body Returned to Pakistan

QUETTA, Pakistan -- Thousands of Pakistanis chanted anti-American slogans as the body of Mir Aimal Kasi, a Pakistani executed in the United States for killing two CIA employees, arrived home, witnesses said.

"Crush the United States!" chanted a crowd of more than 2,000 people as the body arrived at the airport outside this southwestern city.

Kasi, 38, was executed Thursday in Virginia by lethal injection in a case that sparked protests in Pakistan and fears of retaliation against U.S. interests worldwide.

Reuters

EUROPE

Relief Workers Freed in Chechnya

MOSCOW -- Two international Red Cross workers kidnapped by Russian forces in the rebellious republic of Chechnya last week have been released, officials said.

"We can confirm they were released yesterday," said Igor Botnikov, a Kremlin spokesman on Chechnya.

The International Committee of the Red Cross welcomed the release but said the Russian authorities had given no details of how the pair were freed.

Russian television said locally recruited truck drivers Alexander Panov, 41, and Musa Satushev, 43, had been released by Russian forces without a ransom.

Masked gunmen kidnapped the two men on Wednesday as they drove out of the regional capital Grozny after delivering humanitarian supplies.

Reuters

The Americas

Head of Death Squad Arrested in Peru

LIMA, Peru -- In a dramatic arrest that could shed light on former president Alberto Fujimori's possible involvement in human rights crimes, Peru captured the head of an army death squad that killed 25 people in two of Peru's most notorious massacres in the early 1990s.

Maj. Santiago Martin Rivas was leader of the Grupo Colina death squad. The unit was convicted of killing 15 people at a party in the Barrios Altos district of Lima in 1991 and nine students and their professor at La Cantuta university in 1992. He was arrested at his Lima home.

Fujimori, who ruled Peru from 1990 to 2000, is charged with responsibility for the murders. The former president, who is now in exile in Japan, has denied the charge.

Martin Rivas was one of 10 officers sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for the La Cantuta killing, which happened when Peru was in the grip of leftist rebel violence. He was released after Fujimori decreed an amnesty in 1995. But he became a fugitive after Peru's top military tribunal ruled last year that the sentences should be upheld, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. His detention brings to seven the number of Grupo Colina members behind bars; 14 are still at large, Interior Minister Gino Costa said.

Costa said at a news conference that Martin Rivas had been under surveillance for a week.

Reuters

For the record

A lawyer for Italy's former prime minister, Giulio Andreotti, said he would ask the supreme court to rush through an appeals hearing and quash a ruling that found Andreotti guilty of ordering the 1979 murder of a journalist. . . . Two small explosions were reported outside Camp Zama, a U.S. Army base near Tokyo. There were no U.S. casualties or damage to the base, said a spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Command. Police found a homemade projectile launcher about 300 yards from the camp's logistical center, a Japanese police spokesman said. . . . The court-martial of a U.S. soldier accused of negligent homicide in the road deaths of two South Korean girls opened at a U.S. military base in South Korea.

Compiled by Virginia Hamill