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Former Iranian President Khatami: Trial Against Protesters Unconstitutional


IRAN-DETAINEES: Iran's former president who now heads one of the largest reform parties in the country has strongly criticized the trial of more than 100 Iranian protesters and activists as unconstitutional. Former President Mohammad Khatami lashed out at the court's tactics Sunday, just one day after what he calls a "show" trial began in Tehran. He says prosecutors are relying on confessions that were illegally obtained. In the courtroom Saturday, prosecutors accused the protesters of plotting a "Velvet Revolution" to overthrow the government of Iran. The original so-called Velvet Revolution occurred in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s when Soviet rule was overthrown without bloodshed. The activists in Iran are accused of organizing massive demonstrations after the June 12 presidential election, won by incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The opposition says the polling was rigged and the results were tainted.

US-IRAQ-IRAN: Iran's state television is confirming that three Americans who reportedly crossed into Iran from northern Iraq are being detained for illegally entering the country. The government television station (al-Alam) says that the three, described as hikers and tourists, crossed the northern border into Iran without permission, and despite warnings that the border was very close by and not well marked. The U.S. State Department says it is working through the Swiss Embassy in Tehran to obtain the release of the two men and one woman. The United States does not have diplomatic relations with Iran.
The Americans had arrived in the Iraqi Kurdish capital of Irbil earlier in the week, and were staying at (Ahmed Awa) a mountain resort near the border with Iran.

AFGHANISTAN: NATO officials in Kabul say three U.S. troops were killed Sunday in eastern Afghanistan. They were part of a patrol hit by a homemade bomb, and then ambushed with gunfire. Three other American troops were killed in militant attacks Saturday in Afghanistan, along with a French soldier and two unidentified troops NATO officials said were not Americans.
On Saturday, Afghan officials said suspected Taliban militants ambushed a convoy carrying Afghan President Hamid Karzai's campaign staff, killing one guard and wounding two other people.
NIGERIA-UNREST: Nigerian authorities say more than 700 people were killed in last week's clashes between police and a militant Islamic sect in the northern city of Maiduguri.
Government and health officials in Maiduguri cleared bodies from streets as calm returned. Police officials are continuing to search for members of the sect known as Boko Haram who are blamed for violence that erupted a week ago after security forces arrested some of the group's leaders. For five days, the militants attacked police stations, churches and government buildings.
Security forces retaliated later in the week. Officials say thousands of people were displaced by the fighting.

INDONESIA-PLANE: Indonesian officials say a passenger plane carrying 16 people has disappeared over eastern Papua province. Authorities say the Twin Otter plane, owned by Merpati Nusantara airline, was flying to Oksibil near the border with Papua New Guinea Sunday when it lost contact with air traffic control about 40 minutes into the flight from Jayapura. The trip normally takes about 50 minutes. A search and rescue team has been dispatched to the remote area. Much of Papua is covered with impenetrable jungles and mountains. In the past, some missing planes have never been found.


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