Police arrest Syrian ‘spies’
German police on Tuesday arrested two men on allegations they were spying on Syrian opposition groups in Germany, prosecutors said. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said he summoned the Syrian ambassador to tell him that Germany cannot tolerate such activities “against Syrian opposition figures.” About 70 police officers searched the suspects’ apartments and those of six alleged accomplices who are also under investigation, the Federal Prosecutors’ Office said. They say a 34-year-old Syrian, identified only as Akram O, and a 47-year-old German-Lebanese double national, Mahmoud El A, are suspected of “having spied over several years on Syrian opposition figures in Germany,” according to prosecutors.
Famous historian turns thief
US presidential historian Barry Landau, known for his huge collection of memorabilia, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy and theft of dozens of historical documents, US officials said. Barry Landau, 63, admitted he and his 24-year-old assistant, Jason Savedoff, swiped items from museums in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut, and sold selected documents for profit, according to a Department of Justice statement. The pair face up to five years in prison for their conspiracy and 10 years for the theft. Savedoff previously pleaded guilty to the same charges. In Landau’s New York apartment, authorities uncovered over 4,000 items traced as being stolen from libraries and museums throughout the US — include documents signed by George Washington, Franklin Roosevelt, Marie Antoinette, Napoleon Bonaparte, Karl Marx, and Sir Isaac Newton, among others.
Jail for war crimes lawyer
Judges at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal have sentenced the former legal case manager of a Bosnian Serb mass murderer to one year’s imprisonment for contempt of court. Jelena Rasic pleaded guilty last month to paying three men to provide false testimony that would have cleared Milan Lukic of involvement in the murder of a group of Muslim men shot in June 1992 next to the Drina river in the Bosnian town of Visegrad. Judges sentencing Rasic on Tuesday said she has already spent 78 days in pretrial detention and will only serve the remaining eight months of her sentence if she commits another crime in the next two years. Lukic was convicted in 2009 and sentenced to life imprisonment for a killing spree in Visegrad.
FBI eyes ‘sovereign citizens’
The FBI said Tuesday it is monitoring a growing extremist threat from “sovereign citizen” movements, and is targeting their activities to prevent a repeat of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Followers of “sovereign citizen” ideologies reject all government authority, refusing to pay taxes and to recognize US currency, and sometimes engaging in acts of violence, FBI officials told reporters. “They could be lone wolves, too,” said Stuart McArthur, deputy assistant director of the FBI’s counter-terrorism division, who said it was the agency’s mission to “deter and detect” potential acts of “catastrophic violence.” The worst act of domestic terrorism in US history was the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, which claimed the lives of 168 people and left a federal office building in ruins. Its main perpetrator, Timothy McVeigh, was sentenced to death and executed in 2001.