The Cuban government welcomed a decision by a three-judge panel of the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to retry five Cubans convicted of spying. The five were sentenced four years ago to at least 15 years in prison on charges of spying on US military installations and exiles. However, the appeals court found that the original trial was unfair, citing a biased atmosphere against the Cuban regime in the Miami area. Cuba has campaigned intensively for the men's release, calling them the "Five Heroes." Last month, a United Nations panel also questioned the impartiality of the verdict and called the sentences unduly harsh.
An Aug. 9 AP story (online at TruthOut) reveals that Judge John G. Roberts Jr., President Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court, was on a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that ruled last month to allow military tribunals for Guantanamo detainees. Lawyers for one detainee have now appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court.
Haroon Rashid Aswat, a suspect in the London bombings, is in a British prison after having been extradited from Zambia. Authorities assert that he met with Osama bin Laden at a training camp in Afghanistan. He may also face extradition to the US on charges of seeking to establish a terrorist camp in Oregon. (London Times, Aug. 9)
Mauritania's recently-ousted president Maaoya Sid'Ahmed Ould Taya, now in exile in Niger, pledged to return to power, and appealed to the Mauritanian armed forces to launch a counter-coup on his behalf. He made the appeal in an interview on Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV, broadcast throughout the region, including in the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott. Taya said he would "return soon" and issued orders "in my capacity as president of the republic to the armed forces to restore the natural order and put an end to this crime."
A top Bosnian Serb war crimes fugitive wanted by the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia for atrocities during the 1992-95 Bosnia war was arrested in Argentina Aug. 8. Milan Lukic, who went underground after the war ended, is being held in a Buenos Aires jail. Lukic was indicted on several counts of crimes against humanity by the tribunal at The Hague in 2000. A Belgrade court also convicted him for the 1992 slaying of 16 Muslims and later sentenced him in absentia to 20 years in prison.
A lawsuit filed Aug. 8 against US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld reveals the gratuitous cruelty inflicted on a foreign student held without charges for more than two years as an "enemy combatant" in a South Carolina naval brig, Human Rights Watch said in a press release.
Turkey's Kurdish separatist guerillas, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), officially ended a five-year truce in June, and eastern Turkey has since seen a series of bombings and skirmishes. Most recently, five Turkish soldiers died after a bomb blast ripped through a busy street in the town of Semdinli, Hakkari province, near the border with Iran and Iraq, on Aug. 5. (Turkish Weekly, Aug. 6)