World Report

BAGHDAD (JTA) — The Iranian courts have rejected an appeal by 10 Iranian Jews imprisoned on charges of spying, according to the French news service AFP.

U.S. advocates for the 10 have not been able to confirm the reports but said the denial was expected.

"The trumped-up charges that Iranian Jews spied for Israel continue to cast a dark cloud over the entire Jewish community," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles in a statement. Cooper has been an outspoken advocate on behalf of the "Iran 10," who once numbered 13 — prior to the release of 3 defendants found not guilty in July 2000.

The next step for the 10 may be an appeal for clemency from Iran's supreme ruler, Ayatollah Khamenei.

El Salvador rabbi says area Jews are all safe

SAN SALVADOR (JTA) –According to a local rabbi, out of the more than 700 people confirmed dead since Jan. 13, no member of the Jewish community in El Salvador was hurt in the tremor.

"The earthquake found us in the synagogue, with all the children in activity," Rabbi Gustavo Kraselnik wrote the World Jewish Congress. "But we were lucky to be able to get to the garden quickly. Thanks to all those who sent us evidence of affection and solidarity, which help us to overcome these difficult moments."

Meanwhile, the American Jewish Committee donated $25,000 to the victims and B'nai B'rith International raised $5,000 toward relief efforts.

Wallenberg mystery: Documents exchanged

MOSCOW (JTA) — Russia gave Sweden documents last Friday concerning Moscow's recent clearing of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg on spy charges.

The move came after a joint Russian-Swedish panel was unable to agree on the fate of Wallenberg, who saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews during World War II and then disappeared after he was arrested by Soviet agents in 1945.

Russia maintains its view that Wallenberg had been shot in 1947 in a Soviet secret police jail in Moscow.

In a related development, a monument to Wallenberg was unveiled in the courtyard of a Moscow library on Jan. 17.

Panel to contemplate war criminal's release

PARIS (JTA) — The European Court of Human Rights has agreed to consider a plea for release by convicted war criminal Maurice Papon.

Papon, who was found guilty by a French court of helping deport some 1,500 Jews to Nazi death camps during World War II, made the appeal on the grounds that keeping a 90-year-old in jail is inhumane.

It could take until the middle of next year before the court rules whether incarceration at his age violates European rights conventions against inhumane and degrading treatment. The court can advise but not order France to free him.

In related news, Hungarian Jewish leaders protested a call by a far-right party to retry the case of the nation's executed wartime prime minister.

The leaders said they were "deeply shocked" after the Hungarian Justice and Life Party questioned the sentence imposed on Laszlo Bardossy.

Executed in 1946 for war crimes, Bardossy was partly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jews.