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U.N. criticizes Saudi execution of Sri Lankan maid

GENEVA

U.N. criticizes Saudi execution of housemaid

The U.N. human rights office expressed its "deep dismay" Friday over Saudi Arabia's execution of a young Sri Lankan housemaid accused of killing a child, a sentence carried out despite concerns about flaws in the conviction process. Saudi Arabia beheaded the woman, Rizana Nafeek, on Wednesday for the death of a 4-month-old infant in her care in 2005, when she was 17, below the age that the death sentence can be applied, according to international law. Human rights groups say she did not have access to a lawyer until after a court had sentenced her to death in 2007. She denied killing the boy, and no autopsy was conducted.

Gabon

Accord on Central African Republic

Bringing a tentative close to an uprising that brought the Central African Republic to the brink of civil war, the government and rebel fighters seeking to oust the president signed a deal in Gabon on Friday for a weeklong cease-fire that could mature into a peace plan. Under the agreement, President Francois Bozize will not cede power, but a coalition government will be formed and an opposition leader will be named prime minister.

Chicago

Lottery winner's body to be dug up

A judge Friday granted prosecutors permission to exhume the body of a Chicago lottery winner who was poisoned with cyanide as he was about to collect his $425,000 payout. Authorities want to do a fuller autopsy on Urooj Khan, 46, to confirm earlier but less-thorough toxicology tests.

ALEXANDRIA, Va.

Ex-Marine gets 25 years in shooting

An ex-Marine convicted of firing shots at the Pentagon and other military targets in 2010 was sentenced Friday to 25 years in prison, despite a recent diagnosis of schizophrenia that raised some questions about his sanity. At a sentencing hearing, Yonathan Melaku, 24, of Alexandria said he wanted to go forward with a plea deal reached last year.

Indianapolis

Taliban fighter wins prayer suit

An American convicted of fighting alongside the Taliban must be allowed to pray daily in a group with other Muslim inmates at his high-security prison in Indiana, a federal judge ruled Friday. Barring John Walker Lindh and his fellow Muslims from engaging in daily group ritual prayer violates a 1993 law that bans the government from curtailing religious speech without showing a compelling interest, U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson ruled.

Elsewhere

Saudi Arabia: King Abdullah granted women seats on the country's top advisory council on Friday, giving them a toehold in the conservative kingdom's male-dominated political system.

France: Turkey's prime minister suggested Friday that a feud among Kurdish rebels was behind the shooting deaths of three Kurdish activists in Paris. The rebels rejected the allegation.

Times wires

U.N. criticizes Saudi execution of Sri Lankan maid 01/11/13 [Last modified: Friday, January 11, 2013 10:52pm]
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