Coordinated terrorist bombings at the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia, leave 9 people dead and at least 50 injured, including a number of foreigners and two suicide bombers. No terrorist group claims responsibility for the attack that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono calls “inhuman and thoughtless,” but terrorist network Jemaah Islamiyah, tied to the 2003 Marriott hotel bombing in Jakarta and al Qaeda, is considered a initial suspect.
Former president and senior Iranian cleric, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani calls for the release of jailed post-election protesters. At his first Friday sermon since the presidential vote, Rafsanjani requests the end of media restraints and makes an appeal for a broadcast debate about the disputed vote.
Chechnya’s president Ramzan Kadyrov denies responsibility in the murder of Russian human-rights activist Natalia Estemirova. Estemirova was kidnapped outside of her home in the Chechen capital, Grozny, and her body was found on Wednesday in the neighboring region of Ingushetia. Oleg Orlov, the head of Memorial human rights group for which she had documented hundreds of cases of abuse in Chechnya, accused the president of her murder.
Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is acquitted of the hijacking charges that have legally kept him from running for public office. Sharif was convicted in 2000 of hijacking after attempting to prevent the landing of an aircraft in Pakistan carrying former president Pervez Musharraf, who was head of the military at the time. Sharif went into exhile in Saudi Arabia after being deposed in a coup in 1999.
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir chooses not to attend the Smart Partnership Dialogue conference in Kampala, Uganda, after he was warned of the arrest warrant for seven charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity ordered by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in March. The African Union, which includes Uganda, decided earlier this month not to cooperate with al-Bashir’s arrest warrant.