Last witness testifies for prosecution in Pearl trial

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

HYDERABAD, Pakistan -- The prosecution's final witness was cross-examined Monday in the trial of four men accused of kidnapping and murdering Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Police officer Hamid Ullah Memon recorded the initial criminal complaint by Pearl's wife after he disappeared from the port city of Karachi Jan. 23.

Memon was questioned about why Mariane Pearl had filed the complaint 12 days after her husband had gone missing. His cross-examination will continue Tuesday.

Chief Prosecutor Raja Quereshi expressed confidence that his case against the four Islamic radicals charged remains solid. All four, including suspected mastermind Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, have pleaded innocent.

Russia says '99 bombing suspects are in Georgia

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia -- Three men who took part in a 1999 apartment house bombing that killed 18 people are hiding in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, Russia's main security service said Monday.

The three men helped plan and carry out the bombing in Volgodonsk, in southern Russia, said Vasily Matyugin, a spokesman for the Federal Security Service.

He said FSB officials not only know their identities but also their address.

The Volgodonsk explosion was one of four 1999 apartment house bombings that killed some 300 people, terrorized the country, and set off a wave of popular support for Russia's second military invasion of Chechnya later that year.

Russian officials blamed the blasts on Chechen rebels, though rebel leaders denied involvement and suggested Russian security services played a role to justify the subsequent military campaign.

Official: Many rebels killed in Congo attack

BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of Congo -- More than 100 rebels were killed in an attack on the capital of this central African nation, an army official said Monday.

The official said 17 government soldiers also died in the fighting last week, the first in Brazzaville since the war resumed in late March.

The rebels attacked Brazzaville on Friday, targeting the city's main military base, which is close to the Maya-Maya international airport. Health officials have said six civilians were killed.

Government forces repulsed the attack, and spent the weekend hunting rebels in and around the city. Sporadic gunfire was heard Monday in the north of the city.

Three al-Qaida suspects arraigned in Morocco

RABAT, Morocco -- Three Saudi nationals suspected of planning suicide attacks against U.S. and British warships were arraigned in a Moroccan court on Monday, officials said.

The suspects, identified as Hilal Jaber Aouad Alassiri, Zuher Hilal Mohamed Al Tbabti and Abdellah M'Sefer Ali Al Ghamdi, were charged with "breach of internal and external state security."

The charge carries the death penalty, but Morocco rarely carries out executions.

The three men are Saudi citizens between the ages of 25 and 35 and claim to be members of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network.

--From wire reports

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