2 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 25, 2005
Kyrgyzstan president flees
U Akavev's whereabouts
uniiknown, some speculate
he left the country
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AP) - Pres-
ident Askar Akayev reportedly fled on
yesterday after protesters stormed his
headquarters, seized control of state
television and rampaged through gov-
ernment offices, throwing computers
and air conditioners out of windows.
A leading opponent of the Akayev
regime, Felix Kulov, was freed from
prison and praised the "revolution made
by the people." Kulov said Akayev had
signed a letter of resignation, the ITAR-
Tass news agency reported.
Members of the reinstated parlia-
ment that was in power before Febru-
ary's disputed election met yesterday
night to discuss keeping order in the
nation and conducting a new presiden-
tial vote, perhaps as early as May or
June. They elected a former opposi-
tion lawmaker, Ishenbai Kadyrbekov,
as interim president.
Sitting in Akayev's chair surrounded
by supporters, opposition activist Ulan
Shambetov praised the latest uprising to
sweep a former Soviet republic.
"It's not the opposition that has seized
power, it's the people who have taken
power. The people. They have been
fighting for so long against corruption,
against that (Akayev) family," he said.
The takeover of government buildings
in Bishkek followed similar seizures by
opposition activists in southern Kyrgyz-
stan, including the second-largest city,
Osh. Those protests began even before
the first round of parliamentary elections
on Feb. 27 and swelled after March 13
run-offs that the opposition said were
seriously flawed. U.S. and European
Lateryesterday, Kyrgyzstan's Supreme
Court declared the election invalid and
recognized the former parliament as the
legitimate legislature, said former parlia-
mentary speaker Abdygany Erkebayev.
Akayev's whereabouts were not
known. Both the opposition and Rus-
sian news agencies said he had left
the country but U.S. officials raised
doubts about whether he was no lon-
ger in Kyrgyzstan.
Opposition leader Kurmanbek Baki-
yev appeared on state TV and declared:
"Akayev is no longer on the territory of
The Interfax news agency, without
citing sources, said Akayev had flown
to Russia but later said he had landed in
"The intelligence reports do not ver-
ify what you cited from press reports.
I'm confident there will be no issue with
respect to U.S. forces," Rumsfeld said.
Bakiyev also said the prime min-
ister had resigned but that those in
charge of the Security, Interior and
Defense ministries were working
with the opposition.
Politics in Kyrgyzstan depends as
much on clan ties as on ideology, and the
fractious opposition has no unified pro-
gram beyond calls for more democracy,
an end to poverty and corruption, and a
desire to oust Akayev, who held power in
the former Soviet republic for 15 years.
The fragmented opposition has shown
no signs it would change policy toward
Russia or the West.
Any change would have impact,
since both the United States and Russia
have cooperated with Akayev and have
military bases near Bishkek. There are
about 1,000 U.S. troops at Manas air
base outside Bishkek. Defense Secre-
tary Donald Rumsfeld said he did not
believe they would be adversely affect-
ed by the turmoil.
Kyrgyzstan's role as a conduit for
drugs and a potential hotbed of Islamic
extremism makes it volatile. There is no
indication that the opposition would be
more amenable to Islamic fundamental-
ist influence than Akayev's government
"The future of Kyrgyzstan should be
decided by the people of Kyrgyzstan,
consistent with the principles of peaceful
change, of dialogue and respect for the
rule of law," State Department spokes-
man Adam Ereli said.
The takeover began with a rally
yesterday morning on the outskirts of
Bishkek, where about 5,000 protesters
roared and clapped when an opposi-
tion speaker said they soon would
control the entire country.
"The people of Kyrgyzstan will not
let anybody torment them," Bakiyev told
the crowd. "We must show persistence
and strength, and we will win."
Interior Minister Keneshbek Dushe-
bayev addressed demonstrators and
urged them to obey the law, but he
also departed from his warnings a day
earlier of a violent crackdown, saying
no force would be used against peace-
About 1,000 people surged toward
the hulking, Soviet-era building that
contained Akayev's offices and met little
resistance from the helmeted riot police
who held truncheons and shields next
to a protective fence. About half of the
crowd entered through the front. Others
smashed windows with stones, tossed
papers and tore portraits of Akayev in
half and stomped on them.
NEWS IN BRIEF
U.N.: Investigtion needed in Lebanon
A U.N. report into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik
Hariri concluded that Lebanon's probe of the killing was unsatisfactory and an
international investigation is needed.
The report, released yesterday, says there was a "distinct lack of commitment"
by Lebanese authorities to investigate the crime, and the investigation was not car-
ried out "in accordance with acceptable international standards.
In Beirut, Lebanese President Emile Lahoud responded by saying he had told
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to do "what is necessary" to learn who was
behind the Feb. 14 killing.
Hariri died in a blast in central Beirut that killed 17 other people. The Lebanese
opposition has blamed Syria and its Lebanese allies, who have both denied any
The report does not directly assign blame, saying the causes could not
"However, it is clear that the assassination took place in a political and security
context marked by an acute polarization around the Syrian influence in Lebanon,"
the report said.
PENELLAS PARK, Fla.
Fla. court refuses to save Terri Schiavo
With Terri Schiavo visibly drawing closer to death yesterday, her parents refused
to give up the fight to reinsert their brain-damaged daughter's feeding tube, despite
being rebuffed by both the nation's highest court and a Florida judge.
Bob and Mary Schindler held onto the slim hope that Gov. Jeb Bush would
somehow find a way to intervene or a federal judge who had turned them down
before would see things their way. But Bush warned that he was running out
As of yesterday afternoon, Schiavo, 41, had been without food or water for six
full days and was showing signs of dehydration - flaky skin, dry tongue and lips,
sunken eyes,according to attorneys and friends of the Schindlers. Doctors have
said she would probably die within a week or two of the tube being pulled.
"It's very frustrating. Every minute that goes by is a minute that Terris being
starved and dehydrated to death," said her brother, Bobby Schindler, who said see-
ing her was like looking at "pictures of prisoners in concentration camps."
feld was asked about
a stop in Guatemala.
Donald H. Rums-
the reports during
GONE FIsHI Iraqi chemist's death
still under investigation TEXAS CITY, Texas
Deadbody found near Texas plant explosion
Al-Izmnerly was crucial to
the Iraqi weapons underworld
before his mysterious death
NEW YORK (AP) - The U.S. Army says
it has reopened an investigation into the sus-
pected bludgeoning death of a key Iraqi scientist
in American custody, a chemist who allegedly
experimented with poisons on prisoners in the
days of Saddam Hussein.
Mohammad Munim al-lzmerly, 65, is the only
known weapons scientist among at least 96 detain-
ees who have died in U.S. custody in Iraq. Ques-
tions have surrounded the death ever since his body
was dropped off at a Baghdad hospital in February
2004, two weeks after he died.
When it first came to light in press reports
last May, the U.S. military, newly under fire for
prisoner abuse in Iraq, refused to answer queries
about the chemist's death. Now, months later, the
Army says an investigation has begun.
"The case was initially closed, but after further
investigative review a determination was made
to reopen the investigation," Army spokesman
Christopher Grey told The Associated Press.
The Pentagon would say nothing about the
timetable or thrust of the inquiry. Rod Barton, an
Australian member of the CIA-led teams that ques-
tioned al-lzmerly and other weapons scientists, says
such prisoners may have been beaten during the
futile U.S. hunt for banned arms in Iraq.
When .al-Izmerly's body was delivered to
Al-Kharkh Hospital, the Americans enclosed a
death certificate saying he died of "brainstem
compression," without saying what caused it,
Britain's Guardian newspaper reported after
viewing the document last year. A subsequent
Iraqi autopsy determined he was killed by a
blunt trauma injury, a blow to the head, Iraqi
doctors told Baghdad reporters.
New details are emerging about the role al-
Izmerly played in Iraq's weapons underworld.
In contrast to a "distinguished chemistry pro-
fessor," the portrayal in one press report last May,
U.S. weapons investigators now say al-Izmerly
was an early leader of Iraq's effort to make chem-
ical arms, and an assassination specialist who
once devised a "poison pen."
The Egyptian-born scientist had been in U.S.
detention since April 2003. His family was allowed
to visit him in January 2004 at the Baghdad air-
port, where he was believed held at Camp Cropper,
a U.S. military detention center for "high-value
A month later they were notified by the Red
Cross he was dead. His son, Ashraf, 22, told
reporters that when he went to the hospital morgue
to claim the remains, zipped up in a U.S. body
bag, he saw an injury to the head. The dated death
certificate indicated the Americans had held the
body for 17 days.
The lone worker unaccounted for after an explosion at a BP oil refinery was
found dead in the rubble, bringing the death toll to 15 in a blast that also injured
more than 100 people, officials said yesterday.
BP spokesman Bill Stephens said the worker was found near the site of the blast.
Earlier, officials said records had indicated the worker checked out and left the
refinery after the Wednesday afternoon explosion.
Officials said about 1,100 employees and 2,200 contract workers were at
the refinery when the blast shot flames into the sky, forced schoolchildren
to cower under desks and showered plant grounds with ash and charred
metal. It rattled windows more than five miles from the 1,200-acre plant
Chess legend released from detention in Japan
Chess legend Bobby Fischer, en route to a new life in Iceland, said yesterday that
freedom felt "great" after nine months' detention in Japan, where he had been held
for trying to leave the country using an invalid U.S. passport.
Fischer was released from Japanese custody earlier in the day and stopped over
in Denmark before he was to board a private plane for Iceland, which has granted
Upon arriving in Reykjavik, Fischer will stay at the Hotel Loftleider - the same
place where he stayed in 1972 when he defeated Russian Boris Spassky in the Cold
War chess showdown that propelled him to international stardom.
Compiled from Daily wire reports
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Current students discuss their
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When: 6-8 p.m., Wednesday,
March 30, 2005
Where: Room 1544, CC. Little
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NEWS Farayha Arrine, Managing Editor
EDITORS: Melissa Benton, Donn M. Fresard, Michael Kan, Jameel Naqvi
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