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UN monitors sought in Sri Lanka after violence.

COLOMBO: International groups called for a UN human rights monitoring mission in Sri Lanka yesterday as fresh clashes between troops and Tamil Tiger rebels left 25 dead.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch yesterday called for the UN Human Rights Council to monitor rights abuses as the need was more urgent than ever.

In the last two weeks of November alone, more than 50 civilians have been killed," the Human Rights Watch said. The group said in an open letter ahead of a UN meeting on human rights in Geneva next week that in Jaffna, the number of "enforced disappearances" and unlawful killings continues "at very high levels".

"Over 200 civilians were reported missing in Jaffna since January 2007."

Complaint filed against Badawi

KUALA LUMPUR: An ethnic Indian leader filed a police report yesterday against Malaysia's prime minister, the attorney general and police chief for claiming his protest group has possible terrorist links.

P Uthayakumar lodged the criminal report against Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the others at a police station in a Kuala Lumpur neighborhood. Also included in the complaint are Law Minister Nazri Aziz and the state-controlled media.

"We have got zero links with terrorism. We have got zero links with LTTE. We do not support violence. We are a nonviolent group," said Uthayakumar, a human rights lawyer.

He said he feared the government would use the allegation to arrest him under the Internal Security Act, which allows indefinite detention without trial.

Uthayakumar said he did it as a symbolic gesture, and challenged the government to produce evidence within 24 hours to show he has terrorist links.

He has threatened to sue the government leaders for defamation to seek 10 million ringgit (BD1m)in damages.

Malaysian Prime Minister has reportedly warned that ethnic Indian activists accused of having links with the Tigers could be held under internal security laws.

Syrian cabinet reshuffled

DAMASCUS: Syrian President Bashar Al Assad reshuffled his cabinet yesterday and replaced two ministers, the official news agency SANA reported.

President Assad issued a decree and appointed Imad Abdel Ghani Sabuni as communications and technology minister and Mohammed Abdel Sattar Sayyed as minister for Waqf" or religious endowment.

Campus arrests in Iran

TEHRAN: Iran has arrested several people at Tehran University on suspicion of seeking to start an "illegal" demonstration and create disorder on campus, the intelligence ministry said yesterday.

The ministry said its agents had arrested an unspecified number of people who were using "fake student cards" to hold a demonstration in front of the technical college at the university.

"The arrested people had been called by anti-regime and deviant political groups to create unrest in the university by holding an illegal gathering," said the ministry statement, quoted by the state-run Irna.

It said a variety of objects had also been seized, including slings, rocks, fire-crackers, "insulting" publications and alcohol.

The time of the arrests was not given but it is likely they took place ahead of annual students' day in Iran. Dozens of students had on Tuesday held a protest at Tehran University, chanting slogans against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and calling for the release of arrested colleagues, the Fars news agency reported. It was not clear if the arrests had been made during this protest, where firecrackers were reportedly thrown, or subsequently.

That protest was reported to have dispersed peacefully after half-an-hour, with the students marching on the university gates.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:9SRIL
Date:May 1, 2008
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