Legal news from Wednesday, February 15, 2006
20:02 EDT

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice [official website] has opened an internal investigation into its role in the domestic surveillance program approved by President Bush, Rep. Maurice Hinchey [official website] said Wednesday. Counsel for DOJ's Office of Professional Responsibility [official website] confirmed that an investigation had been started in response [read more]

20:02 EDT

[JURIST] Congressional Democrats on Wednesday introduced legislation that would roll back some of the limited liability provisions for vaccine and drug manufacturers in times of public health or bioterror emergency. A group of 21 US Senate and House Democrats led by Sen. Eedward Kennedy (D-MA) [official website] said in a [read more]

19:02 EDT

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] has been petitioned to force the country's government to bring an action in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] against countries where cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad [JURIST news archive] have been published. A Pakistani lawyer filed the petition Tuesday, [read more]

19:02 EDT

[JURIST] Hassan Bubacar Jallow [official profile], lead prosecutor for the UN-affiliated International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website; JURIST news archive] asked Wednesday that the Tribunal transfer the case of former Rwanda official Michel Bagaragaza to Norway. Bagaragaza, who has pleaded not guilty to genocide charges and is being [read more]

19:02 EDT

[JURIST] Indonesia [JURIST news archive] on Wednesday defended death sentences handed down [Melbourne Age report] earlier this week against two Australians convicted for attempting to smuggle narcotics out of the country. An Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman said the sentences were in line with Indonesian law and that they should be [read more]

16:02 EDT

[JURIST] Reversing a stance taken in previous years, Idaho state senators Wednesday voted to put on the November ballot a constitutional amendment [HJR002 text] that would establish one man and one woman marriages as the "only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized." The same measure was defeated [read more]

15:02 EDT

[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's environmental law news, the Washington State Senate [official website] has approved a measure [PDF text] that would allow the state to provide more water from the Columbia River basin for agriculture while protecting fish by ensuring water levels during spawning runs. For years, farmers in eastern Washington [read more]

15:02 EDT

[JURIST] Lawyers for the US Department of Justice have told the US Supreme Court [official website] that inmates held at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] cannot challenge their detention by relying on the US Constitution because "the Constitution does not guarantee aliens held abroad a right to habeas corpus." The [read more]

15:02 EDT

[JURIST] Several members of the US House of Representatives Wednesday sharply criticized US internet companies for complying with the Chinese government's censorship requests at a Human Rights subcommittee hearing [agenda]. The hearing was called [JURIST report] after Microsoft [corporate website], Yahoo! [corporate website; press release], Cisco [corporate website] and Google [read more]

15:02 EDT

[JURIST] US Sen. Russell Feingold [official website] has begun one more perhaps-quixotic filibuster against renewal of the USA Patriot Act [JURIST news archive], claiming that new versions of key provisions offer only modest protection for civil liberties [floor statement transcript; MP3 recorded audio]. Feingold has so far received little support [read more]

14:02 EDT

[JURIST] Admitted al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui [JURIST news archive] was unexpectedly allowed back into court Wednesday, despite a decision Tuesday by US District Judge Leonie Brinkema barring his presence Tuesday at ongoing jury selection proceedings for his sentencing trial [case docket]. Moussaoui was barred from the courtroom [JURIST report] [read more]

13:02 EDT

[JURIST] Lawyers for Ahmed Omar Abu Ali [JURIST news archive], found guilty [JURIST report] in November on charges [PDF indictment] of joining al Qaeda and plotting to assassinate President Bush, have asked a federal judge to delay his sentencing hearing, scheduled to begin Friday, so that they may investigate whether [read more]

13:02 EDT

[JURIST] Facing a wartime enlistment deficiency, the US Army [official website] is granting special exceptions, called recruiting waivers [USAREC Regulation 601-56 text, PDF], to an increasingly high percentage of recruits with criminal records or drug and alcohol problems. While the largest category of recruiting waivers were given to those facing [read more]

12:02 EDT

[JURIST] New US Supreme Court [official website] Justice Samuel Alito [JURIST news archive] has chosen Adam G. Ciongoli, a former counselor to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft [official profile] as one of his five law clerks. Ciongoli, 37, who currently serves as a senior vice president at Time Warner [corporate website], [read more]

12:02 EDT

[JURIST] A US federal judge in California has ruled [opinion, PDF] that the state must change the drugs it uses when executing prisoners, because the current method may constitute cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. US District Judge Jeremy Fogel [official profile] said that he was [read more]

12:02 EDT

[JURIST] The Committee to Protect Journalists [advocacy website] has deplored media repression in over 50 countries in its latest annual report [text]. Highlighting unprecedented violence against reporters in the Middle East, it also condemned legal sanctions such as imprisonment and censorship, particularly decrying the crackdown on independent media in Iran [read more]

11:02 EDT

[JURIST] Government officials in Haiti [JURIST news archive] have announced plans to form a commission to review the contested results of that country's February 7 election [JURIST report; BBC backgrounder]. The commission will be composed of members of the president's office, representatives from the Provisional Election Council (CEP) [official website], [read more]

10:02 EDT

[JURIST] BBC News is reporting that the UK House of Commons [official website] has voted to include the glorification of terrorism as a criminal offense in the proposed Terrorism Bill [text; Home Office backgrounder], overturning the House of Lords on the issue. The Lords last month voted against outlawing the [read more]

09:02 EDT

[JURIST] Germany's Federal Constitutional Court [official website in German] ruled Wednesday that a law permitting the German air force to shoot down hijacked planes [JURIST report] to prevent a suicide attack was unconstitutional [press release, in English; decision, in German], reasoning that the government lacks the right to take the [read more]

09:02 EDT

[JURIST] The US government has formally requested the extradition from Canada of Canadian citizen Abdullah Khadr [Wikipedia profile; CBC family backgrounder], a week after indicting him [JURIST report] on charges [PDF indictment; US DOJ press release] of procuring weapons to be used by al-Qaida against American forces in Afghanistan in [read more]

08:02 EDT

[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's international brief, Ugandan General Court Martial (GCM) Chairman Elly Tumwine has gone ahead with the trial of over 20 suspects accused of collaborating with Ugandan opposition leader Dr. Kizza Besigye [BBC profile] on charges of terrorism and illegal possession of firearms [JURIST report] despite a Ugandan Constitutional [read more]

08:02 EDT

[JURIST] Previously unpublished photographs [SMH slides] and video depicting alleged abuse of prisoners by US personnel at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST news archive] were shown on Australian television Wednesday. In an effort to expose "the extent of the horror that occurred at Abu Ghraib," SBS television's Dateline program showed [read more]

08:02 EDT

[JURIST] The number of alleged international terrorism suspects named in a centralized US database has more than quadrupled since the list's inception in 2003, according to a report in Wednesday's Washington Post. The list, compiled by the National Counterterrorism Center [official website] based on information from the CIA, FBI, NSA [read more]

08:02 EDT

[JURIST] A Jordan military court on Wednesday sentenced Abu Musab al-Zarqawi [BBC profile], the alleged head of al Qaeda in Iraq, and eight other men to death for conspiring to attack several sites in Jordan with explosives and toxic chemicals. Al-Zarqawi and three of the defendants were sentenced in absentia, [read more]

07:02 EDT

[JURIST] Western businesses burned and three people were killed Wednesday as Pakistanis took to the streets in a third day of protests over cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad [JURIST news archive]. A man was shot dead in Lahore as violent clashes with police erupted during a rally of 1,500 students [read more]

07:02 EDT

[JURIST Europe] Microsoft [corporate website] must provide a written answer to EU complaints that it has failed to comply with an antitrust ruling against the software giant by midnight European time Wednesday or risk daily fines of up to 2 million euros ($2.38 million US). The European Commission (EC) [official [read more]

03:02 EDT

[JURIST Europe] British MPs voted Tuesday by an overwhelming margin to ban smoking in all public enclosed spaces beginning in the summer of 2007. Prime Minister Tony Blair [official profile], Chancellor Gordon Brown [official profile], and Home Secretary Charles Clark [official profile] were the among the Labor MPs [party website] [read more]

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