In brief: U.S. says Syria using American as spy
McLean, Va. – The United States accused Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government of using an American citizen to spy on anti-Syrian protesters in the U.S., further straining relations with Damascus over a brutal crackdown on dissidents that has killed thousands.
Mohamad Anas Haitham Soueid, 47, of Leesburg, Va., a Syrian-born, naturalized U.S. citizen, is accused of sending audio and video recordings of American protesters to Syria’s intelligence agency and traveling to Syria to meet directly with Assad.
The Syrian embassy issued a statement strongly denying that Soueid was an agent for them or that he personally met with Assad. It called the accusation “absolutely baseless and totally unacceptable.”
Activists say Soueid’s indictment reflects one aspect of a crackdown on the popular revolt in Syria that extends well beyond the country’s borders.
Soueid was arrested Tuesday and charged with acting in the U.S. as an unregistered agent of a foreign government, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday.
Libya holding detainees, group says
Cairo – Libyan revolutionary forces are holding more than 2,500 detainees in makeshift prisons where they’re subjected to beatings and languish without charges, the human rights advocacy group Amnesty International said Wednesday.
Despite pledges of speedy prosecutions, the National Transitional Council, Libya’s provisional authority since the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi, has yet to try any detainees, Amnesty said.
In at least two cases, Amnesty said, officials in charge of detention centers ignored orders that detainees be released.
The failure of Libya’s revolutionaries to respect the rights of some of their detainees has been the frequent subject of news stories in the nearly two months since rebel forces seized control of Tripoli, but Amnesty’s report, based on visits to 11 revolutionary jails, is the most systematic examination to date of the former rebels’ murky and haphazard detention operation.
Amnesty said the revolutionaries were holding detainees in former prisons, converted schools, football clubs and apartments and noted that there was little, if any, official supervision of the facilities.
Haqqani leader killed by missile
Peshawar, Pakistan – An American missile strike killed a ranking member of the militant Haqqani network today in northwestern Pakistan, increasing pressure on one of the deadliest factions fighting U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Pakistani intelligence officials said.
Two other militants were killed in the attack close to the Haqqani stronghold of Dande Darpa Khel village in North Waziristan, the group’s main sanctuary along the Afghan border, said the officials.
They identified the Haqqani member as Jalil and said he was a “coordinator” for the group. The men were walking down a street when the drone-fired missile hit, the officials said.