In brief: Syrian plane intercepted by Turkish jets
Ankara, Turkey – Turkish jets on Wednesday forced a Syrian passenger plane to land at Ankara airport on suspicion that it might be carrying weapons or other military equipment, amid heightened tensions between Turkey and Syria that have sparked fears of a wider regional conflict.
The Syrian Air jetliner was traveling from Moscow when it was intercepted by F16 jets as it entered Turkish airspace and was escorted to the capital’s Esenboga Airport.
Hours later, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the Airbus A320 with 37 passengers and crew would be allowed to leave, but its cargo had been confiscated.
Russian ‘punk prayer’ perpetrator released
Moscow – A Russian court on Wednesday unexpectedly freed one of three female punk rockers imprisoned for their protest of President Vladimir Putin’s rule, but left her companions behind bars.
The women had been sentenced in August to two years in prison for an act defined as hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for performing an anti-Putin “punk prayer” at Christ the Savior Cathedral in February.
Hearing their appeal on Wednesday, the Moscow City Court suspended the sentence of Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, the oldest of the group, who had changed her legal team and line of defense and argued that she should be treated differently than her fellow defendants.
During the protest, Samutsevich had been stopped by a guard before she could join the other women near the altar and did not take part in the song and dance there.
Her colleagues, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, continued to defy the authorities and refused to repent, a demand of Orthodox Christian leaders who said they were otherwise willing to forgive the performance.