Anwar back in court
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was back in court yesterday over a government appeal against his sodomy acquittal. The 66-year-old politician, who was acquitted in 2012, slammed the appeal, saying it was a political ploy to tarnish his image ahead of a by-election set for March 23. Analysts expect him to win the contested seat in Selangor state, and become the state’s chief minister.
Al-Saadi Qaddafi returned
Niger yesterday extradited one of former leader Muammar Qaddafi’s sons, al-Saadi, to Tripoli. He had been under house arrest in the West African nation since fleeing Tripoli in 2011. The authorities said al-Saadi will be treated “in accordance with international law.” He has been taken to a prison in the capital. Al-Saadi, who is wanted for his role in curbing protests against his father’s rule and the killing of protesters, is known for his love of professional soccer and a playboy lifestyle.
Indian fights deportation
A prominent member of the kingdom’s Indian community is fighting efforts to force him out the country for joining anti-government protests and appealed yesterday to King Bhumibol Adulyadej for help in finding justice. Publishing company owner Satish Sehgal was born in what is now Pakistan in 1943 and moved to the kingdom when he was five years old. However, he has never taken citizenship. Sehgal is an ardent royalist, and says it was his appreciation for what the king has done for the people that drew him into the protests aimed at ousting Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. He denies any political affiliation.
Envoys pulled from Qatar
Riyadh, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar on Wednesday in an unprecedented public split between Gulf Arab allies. Qatar’s Cabinet voiced “regret and surprise” at the decision, but said Doha would not pull out its own envoys and that it remained committed to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) security and stability. The trio said they had acted because Qatar failed to honor a council agreement signed on Nov. 23 last year not to back “anyone threatening the security and stability of the GCC whether as groups or individuals — via direct security work or through political influence, and not to support hostile media.”
Harper softening on pot
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is open to softening laws against recreational marijuana use, Attorney General Peter MacKay said on Wednesday. Under a proposed law, police would be allowed to fine pot smokers for possession of small amounts of cannabis, instead of laying criminal charges. “We have not arrived on the exact mechanism in which that could be done,” MacKay said, adding: “It’s not decriminalization. It’s not legalization.” Meanwhile, Quebec Premier Pauline Marois dissolved the province’s legislature on Wednesday and called snap elections for April 7.
Trader’s death probed
The 28-year-old US boss of a bitcoin exchange was found dead at the base of an apartment block, police and reports said yesterday. Police said they were investigating the “unnatural” death of Autumn Radtke, chief executive of First Meta, on Feb. 26, but that no foul play was suspected.