[JURIST] A leader of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood [backgrounder] announced Saturday through his lawyer that he would run as a candidate against Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak [official profile] in upcoming elections, although his party has not formally endorsed his candidacy. Essam el-Erian [Al Ahram profile/interview] was arrested this week along with some 200 others during anti-government protests in Cairo [AFP report]. A Mubarak-sanctioned constitutional amendment allowing more than one candidate to run for president [JURIST report] is up for expected approval in the Egyptian parliament next week; the amendment could effectively compromise a candidacy by el-Erian or any member of the Brotherhood because associated regulations would require independent candidates to be supported by at least 300 recommendations from elected lawmakers. AP has more.
[JURIST] Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari [BBC profile] told reporters Saturday in Baghdad that the vacant posts in his Cabinet sworn in last week [JURIST report] - five ministers and one deputy prime minister - have now been filled, and that the nominess had been approved by President Jalal Talabani and the country's two vice-presidents. The appointments would appear to end the intense negotiations over positions which has held up government operations and stalled progress in the National Assembly towards the drfating of a permanent national constitution. No names were given Saturday, but al-Jaafari said the appiontees would be announced Sunday. AP has more.
[JURIST] Representative Henry Hyde, GOP chairman of the US House International Relations Committee now undertaking a Congressional review of the UN Oil-for-Food scandal, refused late Friday to hand back to the UN-appointed Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC) [official website] probing the UN program sensitive IIC documents subpoenaed by Congress and handed over to US lawmakers [JURIST report] by former IIC senior investigative counsel Robert Parton, who resigned last month [JURIST report] in protest against alleged IIC leniency. IIC chair and former US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker had publicly appealed for return of the documents earlier Friday, telling a press conference "We're not playing games here, we are dealing - and let me just emphasize this - in some cases with lives." The IIC issued a statement along the same lines. AP has more. The IIC has posted additional information and correspondence concerning the disputed handover of the subpoenaed materials, the confidentiality which the IIC insists is essential to the success of its investigation.
[JURIST] The US DC Circuit Court of Appeals Friday upheld a lower court dismissal [JURIST report; PDF memorandum opinion] of a case brought by fired FBI translator Sibel Edmonds [advocacy website] alleging security lapses in the FBI's translator program. The lower court had said that Edmonds' case could reveal government secrets and harm national security as contended by Justice Department lawyers [NYT report] who had invoked an unusual "state secrets" privilege to bar it. The New York Times has more.
[JURIST] Human rights groups Friday dismissed a new US report to the Geneva-based UN Committee Against Torture that claimed the United States was appropriately prosecuting US personnel accused of mistreating prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo and denied that the abuse was systemic or sanctioned by high-ranking US officials. Spokesman for Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch separately labelled the 95-page State Department document "exculpatory" and a whitewash of US actions, suggesting that it showed light punishment for offenders and completely overlooked abuses committed against CIA "ghost" detainees and individuals subjected to "rendition" to torture abroad. Read the full report [State Department text]. Reuters has more.
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