Legal news from Wednesday, November 16, 2005
20:11 EDT

[JURIST] The Italian Senate [official website, in Italian] on Wednesday approved a constitutional amendment that grants increased powers to both the prime minister and to regional governments within Italy [JURIST news archive]. Legislators approved the changes by a 170-132 vote, bringing to a close months of vigorous debate on the [read more]

20:11 EDT

[JURIST] Congressional Republicans on Wednesday said they planned to move forward with the Streamlined Procedures Act of 2005 [bill summary], legislation aimed at speeding up executions in the US by limiting the number of appeals that can be made by defendants. Sen. Arlen Specter [official website] said he planned to [read more]

19:11 EDT

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit [official website] on Wednesday upheld a narrower version of a preliminary injunction [JURIST report] imposed against Missouri's 24-hour informed consent abortion law [text]. In a 2-1 decision [full opinion, PDF], the court ordered the district court to issue a modified [read more]

19:11 EDT

[JURIST] The French Senate [official website, in French] on Wednesday approved a three-month extension [legislative materials, in French] of emergency powers for local governments still struggling to control rioting around the country. The Senate's approval came a day after the lower house approved the extension that had earlier won approval [read more]

19:11 EDT

[JURIST] US Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist [official website] on Wednesday promised [floor remarks] that long-awaited legislation to establish a $140 billion compensation fund for asbestos [JURIST news archive; EPA backgrounder] victims would top the Senate agenda when it reconvenes in January. Frist said there would be "no more delay," [read more]

16:11 EDT

[JURIST] Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward [Wikipedia profile] disclosed Wednesday that he testified earlier this week before a federal grand jury that he was told the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame several weeks before her identity was published, evidence that prosecutors are continuing to investigate the leak of Plame's [read more]

16:11 EDT

[JURIST] The US government has again refused a UN demand to have unconditional access [JURIST report] for inspectors to Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees. A State Department spokesman said Tuesday that the US would allow inspections, but that it would not agree to unfettered access for representatives from the [read more]

15:11 EDT

[JURIST] The US Department of Defense [official website] has delayed the release of a new US Army [official website] manual on interrogation of detainees aimed at eliminating harsh procedures that came to light at Abu Ghraib [JURIST news archive] prison in Iraq. The manual was scheduled to be released Wednesday, [read more]

15:11 EDT

[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's environmental law news, the European Commission [official website] has agreed to amend the draft version of the Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals Act (REACH) [EU backgrounder] to limit some of the chemicals that would have to be tested when produced in, or imported to, the EU [read more]

15:11 EDT

[JURIST] An Iranian appeals court has upheld [AFP report] the acquittal [JURIST report] of the intelligence agent who was accused of murdering Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi [CBC backgrounder], lawyers said Wednesday. Kazemi died in 2003, while being detained for photographing a demonstration outside a Tehran prison; evidence of torture and [read more]

15:11 EDT

[JURIST] Legislators on Wednesday reached a tentative compromise on the USA Patriot Act and Terrorism Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2005 [bill summary] that would limit certain law enforcement powers under the statute while making most of the provisions permanent. Following the deal reached by the conference committee, Republican leaders pushed [read more]

15:11 EDT

[JURIST] Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid [official website] on Wednesday said in a Senate speech [transcript] that he has "significant concerns" about US Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito [official profile], who Reid said was one of the most conservative judges in the country. Reid said that recent reports about an [read more]

14:11 EDT

[JURIST] A German court has charged three Iraqi German residents with conspiring to kill former Iraqi interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi [JURIST news archive] and membership in a terrorist organization, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday. German authorities arrested [JURIST report] all three the morning of December 3, 2004, the day they [read more]

13:11 EDT

[JURIST] The UN's World Summit on the Information Society [official website] opened Wednesday in Tunisia as participants reached an 11th-hour agreement on a draft declaration [PDF text] which will leave the US-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) [official website] in charge of overseeing the main computers that [read more]

12:11 EDT

[JURIST] Iraqi human rights officials are investigating reports that US troops in Iraq used white phosphorus [CDC factsheet; GlobalSecurity.org backgrounder] as an incendiary weapon during a 2004 military assault on the insurgent-controlled city of Fallujah. According to Acting Human Rights Minister Narmin Uthman, a team of investigators has gone to [read more]

11:11 EDT

[JURIST] Judge Patrick Robinson, who is presiding over the trial of Slobodan Milosevic [BBC profile] at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website], adjourned the proceedings Wednesday after Milosevic said he was too ill to call his next witness. Robinson stopped the hearings and called for Milosevic [read more]

10:11 EDT

[JURIST] Peru's Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a prosecutor's request to extradite former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori [personal website] from Chile so that he can face corruption and human rights charges in Peru. Supreme Court Justice Jose Luis Lecaros denied the request because the anti-corruption prosecutor sought to extradite Fujimori [read more]

09:11 EDT

[JURIST] UK Home Secretary Charles Clarke [official profile] ordered Wednesday that British citizen Babar Ahmad [advocacy website; BBC profile] be extradited to the United States where he will face charges of terrorism, conspiring to kill Americans and running a website used to fund terrorists and recruit al Qaeda members. Ahmad [read more]

09:11 EDT

[JURIST] Former Bosnian Army commander Sefer Halilovic [ICTY case backgrounder] was acquitted Wednesday by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website] on war crimes charges [indictment]. The ICTY ruled that court prosecutors did not prove that Halilovic, the most senior Bosnian Muslim commander to face trial at [read more]

08:11 EDT

[JURIST] Massachusetts legislators Tuesday rejected a bill 100-53 which proposed the reinstatement of the death penalty. Massachusetts has not used capital punishment since 1947. The bill was proposed in April [JURIST report; press release] by Republican Governor Mitt Romney [official website] who is considering running for president in 2008. Romney [read more]

08:11 EDT

[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's international brief, Former Indonesian acting secretary-general of the General Elections Commission (KPU) [official website in Bahasa Indonesian] Sussongko Sahardjo has been found guilty on charges of corruption and bribery [JURIST report] and is facing sentencing that could result in nearly 13 years incarceration. Prosecutors from Indonesia's Corruption [read more]

08:11 EDT

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice [official website] said Tuesday that it is backing an attempt by congressional Republicans to split up the largest federal appeals court in the US, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website], which currently covers 54 million people and has 28 [read more]

07:11 EDT

[JURIST] The Iraqi Islamic Party [official website; GlobalSecurity profile], one of Iraq's largest Sunni parties, on Wednesday demanded an international investigation into allegations that security forces illegally detained and tortured suspected insurgents [JURIST report] at secret jails in Baghdad. Omar Heikal said that the majority Shiites were trying to suppress [read more]

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