Date: Mar 6, 1998 [ 0: 0: 0]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 4 Mar 1998 to 5 Mar 1998

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 4 Mar 1998 to 5 Mar 1998
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There are 3 messages totalling 280 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Akbar Ganji sentenced to one year in prison
2. Khatami is Iran's Maradona
3. Bahrain's British torture chief

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Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 19:28:58 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Akbar Ganji sentenced to one year in prison

Iran Sentences Journalist to Year in Prison


Reuters 05-MAR-98


TEHRAN, Iran (Reuters) - Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji was
sentenced to one year in prison after being found guilty of
publishing ``false news,'' a court said Thursday.

The Islamic Revolution Court, in a statement carried by the
official news agency IRNA, said nine months of the one-year
sentence were suspended for five years.

Charges against Ganji, publisher of the liberal Rah-e No
(New Path) monthly magazine, were not officially announced.
But press reports said he was arrested in early December
after making a speech comparing hard-line Islamist groups
to fascists.

The press reports said he had been accused of insulting
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but the evening
newspaper Jameah said Thursday he had been acquitted of
that charge.

Ganji has denied the charges and demanded a jury trial
which would be open to the public.

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.All rights reserved.

-------------------------------------------------------
court-ganji-verdict

ganji sentenced to one-year prison term tehran, march 5,
irna -- the islamic revolution court thursday announced
that akbar ganji has been sentenced to one-year prison
after being found guilty of publishing false news.

a statement released by the court further added that nine
months of the one-year prison term have been suspended for
a period of five years.

it said that as long as ganji has a complainant, his case
will be open to other charges.

the statement said that the verdict has been issued in
accordance with article 698 of the islamic penal code,
approved in 1996.

::irna 05/03/98 14:28




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Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 19:32:10 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Khatami is Iran's Maradona

Iran's Khatami Seen Still Facing Tough Obstacles


Reuters 05-MAR-98 By Steven Swindells


TEHRAN, March 5 (Reuters) - Iran's new moderate president,
Mohammad Khatami, is hoping that parliamentary by-elections
on March 13 will strengthen his popular mandate, diplomats
and analysts say.

Campaigning began on Thursday and although voting is for
just five seats in the 270-member Majlis, or parliament, it
will be a litmus test of Khatami's political strength since
his landslide election victory in May.

Khatami, a moderate Shi'ite Moslem cleric, has largely held
on to the mass support that rallied to his platform of
greater social freedoms.

This is despite an increasingly serious economic downturn
and frequent clashes with powerful conservative rivals
throughout the Islamic republic's faction-ridden
government.

In his first year, Khatami has made headway in smoothing
foreign relations -- particularly with the European Union
and Gulf Arab neighbours -- but diplomats and analysts say
he is far from having his own way at home.

``Khatami has no direct control over the police, the
military, the judiciary and in major domestic and foreign
policy has to acknowledge the power of (Supreme Leader
Ayatollah Ali) Khamenei,'' said one Western diplomat.

``His best weapon remains his popularity...He can easily
say 'I got 20 million votes...who elected you?''' the
diplomat added.

One seasoned Iran-watcher even compared Khatami to
Argentine soccer hero Diego Maradona -- a great, skilful
player but always surrounded and blocked by his opponents
when he wanted to do anything.

Conservative factions who saw their main contender,
parliament speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri, buried by Khatami
in the election last May, continue to wield great power
over the judiciary and other important levers of state
control.

Their loyalty to Khamenei, the successor to Ayatollah
Ruhollah Khomeini who ousted the U.S.-backed shah in 1979,
and to revolutionary principles remains undiluted 19 years
on.

Powerful bazaar merchants and the landowners who
bank-rolled the revolutionaries of 1979 show little
willingness to cede privileges and monopolies which
economists see as vital to shake up a staggering,
state-dominated economy.

With oil prices at four-year lows and the Iranian rial
looking dangerously weak on Tehran's illegal but active
currency market, this is not the time when these business
interests want the economy opened to free enterprise or
efficiency drives.

The force of the conservatives has been seen in the
judicial investigation into Tehran mayor Gholamhossein
Karbaschi and his aides, which has provoked at least one
Khatami cabinet member, Interior Minister Abdollah Nouri,
to lash out at the head of the judiciary, Mohammad Yazdi.

Karbaschi is a key Khatami loyalist who as mayor over the
last eight years has transformed Tehran, partly by getting
those merchants and landowners to pay serious taxes for a
rejuvenation of the capital's housing stock and
infrastructure.

Conservatives have already succeeded in getting some of the
mayor's aides sentenced to jail and flogging. They have
targeted Karbaschi by accusing him of abusing his office to
back the election of Khatami and soliciting donations from
contractors seeking city business.

Khatami's moves in foreign relations have offered
ammunition to conservative opponents who oppose any
relations with arch-foe America and are wary of a European
Union which only last month decided to renew high-level
contacts with Iranian officials.

``Khatami has stated clearly that a dialogue with Americans
is a good thing...This is just the thing to set the
conservatives ablaze again,'' said one diplomat.

Khatami, in an interview with CNN, in January called for
increased dialogue between the people of the two countries
to break down what he called a wall of mistrust.

The visit of a team of U.S. amateur wrestlers to Tehran
just weeks after this broadcast was compared with
Washington's ``ping-pong diplomacy'' with Beijing in the
1970s.

Iranian sports fans gave the American wrestlers a hero's
reception while hardline parliament deputies and newspapers
said the trip -- the first by U.S. athletes since the
revolution -- was tantamount to a degrading sellout of the
republic's revolutionary credentials.

``What Khatami has done is break a few taboos. The American
flag can be raised in Tehran, different books can be
printed, women can go around without being pestered...The
radicals (conservatives) know they have a fight on,'' said
one diplomat.

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.All rights reserved.



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Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 19:41:34 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Bahrain's British torture chief

The Independent
5 March 1998


Gulf state's British torture chief moved


By Robert Fisk, Middle East Correspondent


OFFICIALLY, Ian Henderson has lost his job. According to
the Bahrainis, the former British Special Branch officer
and "hero" of the Mau Mau war in Kenya has been replaced as
head of the island's Special Intelligence Service by Sheikh
Khaled bin-Mohamed bin-Salman al-Khalifa, a member of the
emirate's ruling family. But opposition groups, whose
members have suffered torture in the cells of Mr
Henderson's SIS headquarters in Bahrain, have their doubts
about the announcement.

For almost 10 years, Bahraini dissidents, especially Shia
opposition members demanding a return to parliamentary
rule, have claimed Mr Henderson, a Scot largely credited
with breaking the Mau Mau's intelligence service, has been
in charge of the island's torture chambers. Their
allegation is true. His interpreter - after three decades
in Bahrain he cannot speak Arabic - is a Jordanian army
officer who has personally whipped interrogation victims.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch has reported that the
toe-nails of prisoners have been torn out. Electricity has
also been used on Shia protesters brought to Mr Henderson's
offices, although witnesses say the Briton has himself
never inflicted torture.

In Britain, Bahraini opponents of the regime have been
demanding Mr Henderson be brought to trial in London for
rights abuses, a call supported by a number of Labour MPs.

British foreign secretaries have disclaimed any
responsibility for his activities - Mr Henderson's victims
have sometimes been deported to London and forbidden from
returning to their country of birth, even though they hold
full Bahraini passports.

There are rumours in Bahrain that Mr Henderson has cancer
and has been given a golden handshake by the al-Khalifa
family to buy property for his retirement in the US.

But Bahraini opposition leaders still wonder if the
announcement is true. Asking for anonymity, one Bahraini
critic said yesterday that even if Mr Henderson has been
fired from his job as SIS head, he may still hold a
position within the al-Khalifa's personal security service.
"We are told he is being replaced by Khaled Mohamed - but
the sheikh is not an intelligence man, just a traffic
official. ," the Bahraini said. "I suspect this is just a
blind to ease the criticism from London." His suspicions
can only be reinforced by a statement from the Bahraini
government that Mr Henderson will be kept on as an
"adviser" to the interior ministry.

Britain appointed him to his post in Bahrain prior to the
emirate's independence in 1971. The US has never uttered a
word of protest about his presence on the island - not
least because of Bahrain's role as headquarters to the US
5th Fleet in the Gulf.

Mansour al-Jamri, a spokesman for the "Bahrain Freedom
Movement" in London, said it made little difference whether
Mr Henderson or Sheikh Khaled ran the security services so
long as Bahrainis continued to be imprisoned and tortured.
"If we see the number of . victims decrease . that will be
a positive sign." Mr al-Jamri's father, Sheikh Abdul-Amir
al-Jamri, has been in jail on the island since January of
1996. Violent protests have decreased in recent months - a
reason, perhaps, for Mr Henderson's departure from the SIS.



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End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 4 Mar 1998 to 5 Mar 1998
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