Issuu on Google+

RI PT IO N BS C SU THE LEADING INDEPENDENT DAILY IN THE ARABIAN GULF 40 PAGES SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2010 THULHIJA 8, 1431 AH Mystery deepens over disabled girl’s death Thousands protest attacks against Iraqi Christians PAGE 8 NO: 14910 Vidic’s equalizer caps gutsy Man United fightback US-China row rumbles on at APEC summit PAGE 9 150 FILS PAGE 21 PAGE 20 Court rejects death sentence for TV psychic KIA blasted for incompetence By Hussain Al-Qatari KUWAIT: An investigation is underway into the emergency landing of a Kuwait Airways (KAC) aircraft on Thursday evening, and a final report Continued on Page 14 Saudi Supreme Court refuses to ratify verdict Myanmar frees democracy icon World leaders hail Suu Kyi’s release COLOMBO: Sri Lankan housemaid V R Lechchami, 38, lies on her hospital bed in the northwestern town of Kurunegala yesterday. (Inset) An X-ray image shows some of the 14 steel nails driven into the hands of the maid. — AFP Sponsor ‘hammers’ 14 nails into maid’s body Sri Lankan alleges nail torture in Kuwait COLOMBO: A Sri L ankan housemaid has accused her Kuwaiti employer of hammering 14 nails into her body, in the second such incident in the past few months, a local doctor said yesterday. The woman, identified only as Lechchami, 38, underwent surgery to have the nails removed after returning home to Sri Lanka, the director of the hospital in the northwestern town of Kurunegala said. “We have removed nine out of the 14 wire nails that showed up in X-rays,” hospital director Soma Rajamanthri said. The doctor said the woman had told surgeons that her Kuwaiti employers drove the nails into her hands and left leg — some as long as 3.5 centimeters — when she asked for her salary af ter working for six months. Continued on Page 14 Saudi King Abdullah suffers herniated disc RIYADH: Elderly Saudi King Abdullah is suffering from a herniated disc, the royal court announced on Friday, four days after he failed to preside over the weekly cabinet meeting. “The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques ... is suffering from back problems which doctors diagnosed as a herniated disc,” said a brief statement carried by the official SPA news agency. “Doctors have advised him to rest as part of his therapy,” it said, adding that the announce- ment followed the monarch’s “principle of transparency.” The 86-year-old king has curtailed his activities since June with no clear explanation, although diplomats have said they understood he was fatigued. On Monday his half brother, second deputy prime minister and interior minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, chaired the cabinet meeting with no explanation why the king was absent. Continued on Page 14 Airport scanners ‘unsafe’ YANGON: Myanmar democracy heroine Aung San Suu Kyi gained her freedom yesterday for the first time in 7 1/2 years, as jubilant supporters stormed the lakeside compound that was her home and prison minutes after the country’s military rulers authorized her release. After the national police chief read Suu Kyi the official order, several thousand supporters at her residence began singing the national anthem when the Nobel Peace Prize laureate poked her head over the gate. A smiling Suu Kyi, wearing a traditional jacket and a flower in her hair, spent almost 10 minutes asking the cheering crowd to quiet down before speaking briefly. She asked listeners to spread her words to those standing in the back who couldn’t hear. “If we work in unity, we will achieve our goal. We have a lot of things to do,” Suu Kyi told well-wishers, who quickly swelled to as many as 5,000. She said she would see them again today at the headquarters of her political party. While her release elated many, from ordinary Myanmar YANGON: Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi waves to supporters after her release in Yangon yesterday. — AFP citizens to world leaders, some warned her struggle was far from over. Londonbased rights group Amnesty International estimates more than 2,200 political prisoners remain jailed by the junta. “While Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s release is certainly welcome, it only marks the end of an unfair sentence that was illegally extended, and is by no means a concession on the part of the authorities,” said Amnesty’s Secretary-General Salil Shetty. “The fact remains that authorities should never have arrested her or the many other prisoners of conscience in Burma in the first place, locking them out of the political process.” The release of one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners came a week after an election that was swept by the military’s proxy political party and decried by Western nations as a sham designed to perpetuate authoritarian control. The 65-year-old, whose latest period of detention started in May 2003, has come to symbolize the struggle for Continued on Page 14 Kuwaiti ship seized? Official denies Indian reports KUWAIT: Kuwait has officially and emphatically denied Indian press reports that a Kuwaiti ship had been seized by the Indian authorities for its crew promoted books calling for Islam. An official source of the Foreign Ministry said in a statement released yesterday, “Reacting to reports published by the Indian press that the authorities in India seized a Kuwaiti ship at a port in Mumbai for distribution of booklets promoting Islam, the Ministry immediately contacted the relevant authorities through the embassy in New Delhi and the Consulate in Mumbai, where they affirmed that the sea vessel was not Kuwaiti and boarded no Kuwaiti crew.” The Kuwaiti Embassy in New Delhi reacted to the Indian newspaper that published the report, affirming that it was unfounded. Moreover, the diplomatic mission asked the concerned newspaper to be keen on accuracy while publishing such reports and demanded that a reply be published in the same page where the false report was included. — KUNA Scientists raise alarm; Sexual organs exposed to X-rays BALTIMORE: An unidentified woman in her bare feet stepping into a full body scanner employing Millimeter Wave technology at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. — AFP WASHINGTON: Some US scientists have warned that the full-body, graphic-image Xray scanners now being used to screen passengers and airline crews at airports around the country may be unsafe. “They say the risk is minimal, but statistically someone is going to get skin cancer from these X-rays,” Dr Michael Love, who runs an X-ray lab at the department of biophysics and biophysical chemistry at Johns Hopkins University school of medicine, said. “No exposure to X-ray is considered beneficial. We know X-rays are hazardous but we have a situation at the airports where people are so eager to fly that they will risk their lives in this manner,” he said. The possible health dangers posed by the scanners add to passengers’ and airline crews’ concerns about the devices, which have been dubbed “naked” scanners because of the graphic image they give of a person’s body, genitalia and all. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began rolling out fullbody scanners at US airports in 2007, but stepped up deployment of the devices this year when stimulus funding made it possible to buy another 450 of the advanced imaging technology scanners. Continued on Page 14 KUWAIT: Photo shows a trader at the sheep market. As Eid Al-Adha, the festival of sacrifice approaches, Muslims flock the market to buy sheep. — Photo by Joseph Shagra (See Page 2) RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has refused to ratify the death sentence of a Lebanese psychic convicted of practicing witchcraft in a case that has outraged international human rights groups. A three-judge panel said in its r uling Thursday that there was not enough evidence that Ali Sibat’s actions harmed others. The judges ordered the case to be retried in a Medina cour t and recommadina that the sentence be commuted and that Sibat be deported. The charges in Sibat’s case seem to center on a call-in talk show he hosted on a Lebanese satellite TV station where he would tell fortunes and give advice. His supporters point out that the show was aired from Lebanon, not Saudi Arabia. He was ar rested in May 2008 by the Saudi religious police during a pilgrimage to the holy city of Madina and sentenced to death in November 2009. In Lebanon, Sibat’s wife, Samira R ahmoon, welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision but said she won’t rest until Sibat is back home with her and their five children. “Of course I was ver y happy. A house without a man is worth nothing; we are borrowing money every month just to get bread to eat,” she said. “But I am still scared. Unless I see him at Beirut airport with my own eyes I will always be scared for him.” The Saudi justice system, which is based on Islamic law, does not clearly define the charge of witchcraft. Sibat is one of scores of people reported arrested every year in the kingdom for practicing sorcery, witchcraft, black magic and fortunetelling. The deeply religious authorities in Saudi Arabia consider these practices polytheism. According to Amnesty International, the last known execution on a witchcraf t conviction was the 2007 beheading of an Egyptian phar macist, Mustafa Ibrahim, who was found guilty of casting spells in an attempt to separate a married couple. The charges are often vague - covering anything from fortunetelling to astrology to making charms and talismans believed to bring love, health or pregnancy. Saudi judges cite Quranic verses forbidding witchcraft, but such practices remain popular as a folk tradition. In Januar y, an appeals cour t in Mecca agreed to review Sibat’s death sentence, but in March another set of judges in Madina upheld the sentence, saying he practiced sorcery publicly on a TV show and that made him an infidel. Sibat’s Lebanese lawyer, May Al-Khansa, said she believed the Saudi Supreme Court’s decision meant he will soon be released. “There is no reason for a retrial; either he’s guilty and they have evidence, or they don’t,” she said. “The fact that the court rejected the death sentence means that he’s innocent and the next step is closing the case and deporting him to Lebanon.” Amnesty International says a Sudanese man, Abdul-Hamid Al-Fakki, has also been convicted of sorcery and is still believed to be at risk of execution. — AP

14 Nov

Related publications