Man sentenced for spying
A United Arab Emirates (UAE) national was sentenced to seven years in jail yesterday after confessing to gathering intelligence for a foreign country, state news agency WAM reported. The Federal Supreme Court found Salem Musa Feiruz Khamees, a retired member of the armed forces married to an Iranian woman, guilty of passing on to a foreign country information that harms national security and relations with friendly nations, it said. The agency did not identify clearly the country he was providing intelligence to. Khamees was passing information to agents working as employees of a foreign consulate to whom he was introduced in order to settle a problem that his wife had, it said. The agents asked him for military information in return, it added. Police found in his possession documents about the country’s armed forces and its areas of deployment, WAM said.
Court rejects death penalty
The Supreme Court yesterday rejected arguments for reinstating the death sentence imposed on a Chinese national convicted of a gruesome murder. Wu Yuanchun, an ethnic Korean, was originally sentenced to death for the rape, murder and dismemberment of a 28-year-old woman in Suwon in April last year. Wu, a migrant worker, spent six hours cutting the body into 365 pieces and individually wrapping each one in plastic. The case triggered a backlash against police when it was revealed that the victim had called an emergency number as the attack was taking place. The phone line remained open for eight minutes and the victim could be heard screaming in pain and begging for her life. In June last year, a district court sentenced Wu to death, having accepted the prosecution’s argument that the murder was premeditated and that Wu had intended to sell the body parts. However, the sentence was reduced to life imprisonment in October by an appeals court.
Taliban office announced
Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani on Tuesday said that preparations were under way to open a political office for the Taliban militia in Doha for talks with other Afghan parties. The opening of the office aims to “facilitate dialogue between the Taliban and other political parties in Afghanistan,” he said, adding that it is “very important that a dialogue start before the withdrawal of US troops in 2014.” In April last year, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Khaled al-Attiyah said the country was “moving towards the opening of a [Taliban] political office to reactivate dialogue between all sides.”
Iconic revolutionary dies
Yang Baibing (楊白冰), a veteran revolutionary and strong proponent of economic liberalization, has died. He was 92. Along with his more famous half-brother, former president Yang Shangkun (楊尚昆), Yang Baibing had been among the most powerful leaders in the country. However, he was forced into retirement in 1992 and his supporters were purged from the officer corps by former president Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平), who feared that the Yang brothers were accumulating too much power. Yang Baibing joined the Communist Party in 1938 and battled both Japanese invaders and Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) Nationalists before the communist seizure of power in 1949. A powerful backer of the bloody military crackdown on 1989 pro-democracy protests centered on Tiananmen Square, Yang Baibing later stood by Deng in his struggle against conservatives.