Autopsy Indicates Afghan Cleric

Was Tortured in Pakistani Jail

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- The body of an Afghan cleric who died in police custody in Pakistan on Wednesday had signs that he had been tortured, an intelligence official said.

Pakistani security forces arrested Qari Mohammad Noor and three associates last week in a raid on an Islamic religious school in the central city of Faisalabad. Intelligence officials said that Noor, who was suspected of helping al Qaeda members find housing in Faisalabad, died in police detention and that an autopsy found wounds on his body.

Noor was arrested as part of a crackdown that followed the arrest in July of an alleged al Qaeda computer expert, Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan, whose computer records yielded surveillance data that led U.S. authorities to raise the terrorism alert level to orange, or "high-risk," for financial sites in Washington, New York and Newark.

EUROPE

* LONDON -- Eight British subjects appeared in court under extraordinary security, accused of plotting radiation, chemical and biological terrorist attacks in the United States.

Prosecutor Sue Hemming told the court that the men's "strong and deeply held ideology" meant they would be prepared to carry out "extreme acts," and said the police investigation was still at an early stage.

The men included Dhiren Barot, 32, also known as Eisa Hindi, suspected as an al Qaeda operative who conducted surveillance of financial buildings in the United States.

The men, who were not asked file a plea, were to appear again in court on Aug. 25. Kirsten Johnson, a spokeswoman for defense attorneys representing six of the men, said all the charges would be "fully contested."

-- Glenda Cooper

* ZURICH -- About $500 million siphoned into Swiss banks by former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha will be returned to the oil-rich African country, Switzerland's Federal Office of Justice said. The return caps a six-year search for as much as $3 billion embezzled by Abacha and his inner circle from 1993 to 1998. After an embarrassing probe revealed that Swiss banks had accepted funds from the ruler before his death in 1998, Switzerland froze the accounts.

THE AMERICAS

* CARACAS, Venezuela -- Maintaining that a referendum to oust President Hugo Chavez was rigged against them, opposition leaders refused to participate in a partial audit of results. The opposition's refusal to accept Chavez's overwhelming victory in Sunday's vote threatened more upheaval in Venezuela.

* SANTIAGO, Chile -- Former dictator Augusto Pinochet ordered the army to dig up and burn the bodies of slain political prisoners in the late 1970s to destroy evidence, according to a criminal complaint filed by a human rights attorney. The case joins hundreds of others lodged by victims and relatives against Pinochet for human rights abuses during his 17-year rule. They are being investigated by a special judge.

The complaint is based on court testimony by two former military officers who said army intelligence units in 1979 received a coded message from Pinochet ordering them to "withdraw the televisions." They said that in the military code used at the time, "televisions" referred to the bodies of hundreds of dissidents killed after the 1973 military coup that put Pinochet in power.

AFRICA

* JOHANNESBURG -- South African authorities raided a suspected mercenary outfit thought to have illegally recruited hundreds of people for operations overseas, officials said. South African police raided the Cape Town office of International Intelligence Risk Management, said police spokesman Sipho Ngwema.

"The suspicion is that the company has recruited hundreds of mercenaries," Ngwema said. He said three people had been detained.

News reports said scores of South African soldiers have abandoned their posts for lucrative private security contracts in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion last year.

* FREETOWN, Sierra Leone -- Sierra Leone charged an investigator at the country's U.N.-backed war crimes court with sexually abusing a young girl, prosecutors said. Peter Halloran, an Australian police officer assigned to the Freetown court, was charged by a magistrate with "unlawful carnal knowledge, indecent assault and procuring a girl under 14 years," prosecuting lawyer Suliaman Bah said. He could face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.

The special court was set up to bring to justice those responsible for atrocities during the West African country's 10-year civil war.

* BUJUMBURA, Burundi -- Police in Burundi's capital fired water cannons and tear gas at crowds protesting Friday's massacre of at least 160 Congolese Tutsis at a U.N. refugee camp in the west of the country. About 100 Congolese Tutsis, known as Banyamulenge, gathered outside the Congolese Embassy to denounce the attack.

African leaders at a summit in Tanzania designated the Burundian Hutu rebel group that asserted responsibility for the massacre a "terrorist organization," but did not impose sanctions on the group.

-- From News Services