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Indonesia releases US journalist detained over visa issue

Indonesia

US reporter freed; deportation likely

JAKARTA — An American environmental journalist accused of violating the terms of his visa has been freed after three days in jail and is likely to be deported soon, a top Indonesian government minister said. The journalist, Philip Jacobson, 30, who works for the nonprofit news site Mongabay and is known for exposing environmental damage and corporate misconduct, was arrested on the island of Borneo after attending a public meeting between officials and indigenous leaders. Immigration officials said he had been conducting journalistic activities while on a business visa, which was not permitted, and that he faced up to five years in prison. The minister for political, legal, and security affairs met on Friday with the US ambassador and told reporters afterward that the case would be handled as an administrative matter punishable by deportation, not as a crime. (New York Times)

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Afghanistan

Killing of teen, father investigated

KABUL — The Afghan government said on Saturday that it was investigating the fatal shootings by Afghan soldiers of a girl and her father in Kandahar province, amid complaints by residents that the security forces have for years been accused of extrajudicial killings and other abuses. The most basic details about the girl, named Naza, were conflicting. She was either 10, 13 or 17 years of age, according to different versions by at least three officials. One official said she had been out shepherding a herd of sheep near their home in Shah Wali Kot District in Kandahar when she was shot. Khalil Ahmad Mujahid, a member of Parliament from Kandahar, said she had been in the fields near her home collecting vegetables when the soldiers had opened fire. When her father carried her body to the gates of the army base in the village in southern Afghanistan the next day, he, too, ended up dead, officials said. Officials have remained tight-lipped about even the most basic details, once again raising concerns about a pattern of lack of accountability after Afghan forces have been accused of abuses against civilians during the years-long war. A spokesman for Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry said it was looking into the episode and could not provide details. (New York Times)

Iran

Negotiations with US still possible

Iran is not ruling out negotiations with the United States even after an American drone strike that killed a top Iranian general, the country’s foreign minister said in an interview released Saturday. Mohammed Javad Zarif told Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine that he would “never rule out the possibility that people will change their approach and recognize the realities,” in an interview conducted Friday in Tehran. (AP)

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