RAMALLAH: Russia will join an international investigation to determine whether the first Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat, was murdered, the current Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, said yesterday.
French and Swiss experts are due to exhume Arafat’s body in Ramallah later this month in an attempt to discover how he died after an Al Jazeera documentary in July suggested he was killed by a rare radioactive poison.
“There’s full cooperation these days between us and the French investigators and Swiss experts, and also from the Russian government,” Abbas told a rain-drenched ceremony on the eighth anniversary of the death in France of the former guerrilla who led Palestinians’ campaign to create a state through years of war and peace.
Abbas asked Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for Moscow’s help during talks in Jordan last week, Palestinian sources said. Allegations of foul play have long surrounded the demise of Arafat.
Turkey could bring back death penalty: Erdogan
ISTANBUL: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday Ankara would consider bringing back capital punishment in terror related crimes, a decade after it abolished the practice. “The authority (to forgive a killer) belongs to the family of the slain, not to us,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by Anatolia news agency. “We need to make necessary adjustments.”
Given that the death penalty existed in China, Japan, Russia and the United States, Turkey needed to review its position, he said. Already last week, the premier had raised the issue, citing popular support for such a move over the case of Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of Turkey’s armed Kurdish rebellion. Ocalan was charged with treason and sentenced to hang in 1999. But the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in October 2002 after Turkey abolished the death penalty under pressure from the EU, which Ankara wants to join.
Erdogan’s suggestion to put the issue of the death penalty on parliament’s agenda comes amid a hunger strike by some 700 Kurdish prisoners. They want better jail conditions for Ocalan, who has been kept in solitary confinement for a year and a half, and the lifting of restrictions on the use of Kurdish language.
Trial of Libyan ex-PM opens today
TRIPOLI: The trial of late dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s last prime minister, Al Baghdadi Al Mahmudi, is to open in the Libyan capital today, the public prosecutor’s spokesman said.