Saudi Arabia frees Jordanian reform activist

April 11, 2013 - 3:04:03 am


AMMAN: Amnesty International yesterday said Saudi authorities have released a Jordanian reform activist who had been held since the beginning of the year in a case that drew concern over his rights.

“Khalid Al Natur, who had been held incommunicado in Saudi Arabia since 6 January was released on 7 April,” Amnesty said.

“Throughout his detention, he was denied access to family and lawyers, and was not charged with any offence.”

Natur, a website developer, was detained after he and four associates arrived at Riyadh airport on a business trip, according to Amnesty.

The other four “were told they would risk a similar fate if they did not leave the airport immediately,” the London-based watchdog said.


Palestinian hunger striker rearrested

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories: The Israeli army rearrested a Palestinian former prison hunger striker in the West Bank yesterday, nearly a year after his release, a Palestinian official said.

Thaer Halahla, 35, who was held without charge by Israel for almost two years until June 2012, was rearrested in Ramallah, an official in the Palestinian Authority’s ministry for prisoners’ affairs said.

Since his rearrest, Halahla has been beaten by soldiers, “suffering injuries to his face and feet,” a prisoners’ rights group quoted his lawyer as saying. Halahla’s lawyer said he would appeal the court’s decision. The Israeli army confirmed Halahla’s arrest, but gave no further details.


US to revive Turkish, Israeli defence ties

ANKARA: US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel will try to rekindle military cooperation between Turkey and its former close ally Israel in his first visit to the two countries since taking office, a Turkish official said yesterday.

Hagel, whose visit to Turkey will take place close to his Israel trip set for April 21-23, will also discuss regional issues, the official said. Turkey has borders with war-ravaged Syria, as well as with Iran and Iraq. The US Embassy in Ankara said it would not comment on any potential visits.    

Relations between Israel and Turkey, once the Jewish state’s closest Muslim ally, fell apart in 2010 after Israeli marines killed nine Turkish activists aboard an aid ship trying to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Palestinian-run Gaza Strip.


Four killed in Iraq attacks on troops

BAGHDAD: Attacks on security forces north of Baghdad killed three soldiers and a policeman yesterday, police and medics said, the latest in an uptick in violence less than two weeks ahead of elections.

In the main northern city of Mosul, gunmen attacked a military checkpoint, killing the soldiers. In the Diyala provincial town of Muqdadiya, a roadside bomb killed the policeman.

Violence left 271 Iraqis dead last month, the highest monthly figure since August, according to a tally, and comes ahead of provincial elections due on April 20.