[JURIST] Prisoners released from the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] and returned to their home countries should be closely monitored to prevent their torture at the hands of their governments, according to a group of lawyers, activists, and family members speaking Saturday. A statement issued jointly with Amnesty International [official website] called on the United States to work with the home countries of detainees (especially those in the Middle East) on disclosing the names of released prisoners as well as ensuring their access to lawyers and the Red Cross. This concern for ex-detainees' safety echoes the rationale behind a recent Bush administration decision to delay the repatriation of some detainees [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.
[JURIST] The Palestinian parliament voted Saturday to pass a new law creating an electoral system which will allow districts to choose 50% of the lawmakers with the other 50% coming from a list of national party candidates. The new law has opened the door to reschedule the July 17 parliamentary elections which were postponed [JURIST report] earlier this month by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas [BBC profile]. Abbas' decision seemed to be an attempt to allow his Fateh party [party website in Arabic] time to bolster their power against opposing Islamic Hamas [Wikipedia profile]. AP has more.
[JURIST] CardSystems Solutions, Inc. [corporate website] said Friday that the FBI told them to refrain from releasing any informing regarding a security breach [JURIST report] which potentially exposed over 40 million cardholders to fraud. CardSystems said they first discovered the breach on May 22 [press release] and were surprised by MasterCard's decision to inform its customers in light of the FBI's recommendation. MasterCard [corporate website] released a statement Friday saying that approximately 13.9 million of the cards belonged to its customers and the rest were other brands. AP has more.
[JURIST] Spc. Sean Baker, an ex-US military policeman, has sued the Pentagon alleging that his constitutional rights were violated during an assault by fellow soldiers [JURIST report] in a January 2003 training session that went awry in Guantanamo Bay. Baker voluntarily dressed in an orange jumpsuit and was told to act as an unruly detainee in a training drill that occurred in a separate wing for al-Qaida and Taliban prisoners who had attacked US MPs. He was told that the fellow soldiers knew he was an American, but a beating ensued that has caused him severe brain injuries and he has since been placed on medical leave. None of the soldiers has been disciplined after the Army's Criminal Investigation Division [official website] concluded no one was to blame for the incident. Baker has sued for $15 million and demands a reinstatement to serve in the US Army. The Los Angeles Times has more.
[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has spoken out [press release] against the United Nations Reform Act of 2005 [PDF text], passed by the US House of Representatives [JURIST report] on Friday, which will cut 50% of US dues to the organization if the UN does not meet certain reform goals. The UN's 60th General Assembly Summit [agenda] is scheduled to be held in New York this September to discuss changes proposed by the Secretary-General, and Annan said late Friday US withholding of dues would not be a "productive route to achieving reform and it could jeopardize the outcome of the September summit." The Reform bill suggests among other things that funds should be taken from the UN public information office and instead put toward areas such as investigating alleged internal wrongdoing like the Oil-for-Food scandal [JURIST news archive] that has plagued the UN in recent months. The US Mission to the UN [official website] also offers a factsheet on UN reforms supported by the United States [PDF]. AFP has more.
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