Legal news from Wednesday, March 22, 2006
20:03 EDT

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] Wednesday announced [DOJ press release] the indictment [text, PDF] of 50 leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) [official website, in Spanish; Wikipedia backgrounder], the country’s largest guerilla group, on narcotics and other charges. Noting that FARC produces half [read more]

20:03 EDT

[JURIST] Three Samsung [corporate website] executives agreed to plead guilty [US DOJ press release] Wednesday for conspiring to drive up the prices in the market for dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips. The three South Koreans will serve jail sentences between seven and eight months and pay fines of $250,000. [read more]

19:03 EDT

[JURIST] Prosecutors argued in front of the Texas Third Court of Appeals [official website] Wednesday for reinstatement of criminal conspiracy charges dropped [JURIST report] against indicted US Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) [official website; JURIST news archive]. In December 2005, Senior District Judge Pat Priest ruled that the former majority leader [read more]

19:03 EDT

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] heard oral arguments Wednesday on whether a federal immigration law authorizing deportation can be applied to illegal immigrants who entered the country before its enactment. The case, Fernandez-Vargas v. Gonzales [Duke Law case backgrounder], 04-1376, involves Mexican immigrant Humberto Fernandez-Vargas, [read more]

16:03 EDT

[JURIST] A federal appeals court heard oral arguments Wednesday in a case that will determine the constitutional scope of the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA) [text] as it applies to over 300 Guantanamo Bay [JURIST report] detainees who have sought habeas corpus review to challenge their detentions. The DTA, signed by [read more]

15:03 EDT

[JURIST] AP is reporting that a military jury has sentenced US Army Sgt. Michael J. Smith to six months in prison for abusing detainees at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST news archive] by using his unmuzzled dogs to intimidate inmates.Smith was convicted [JURIST report] Tuesday on two counts of maltreatment [read more]

14:03 EDT

[JURIST] A Pentagon spokesman confirmed Wednesday that the US Defense Department is considering a formal written rule that would ban statements made during torture from any proceeding before US military commissions [JURIST news archive]. The Wall St. Journal reported early Wednesday that the rule had already been approved and would [read more]

14:03 EDT

[JURIST] The Law Lords [official website], the judicial panel of the UK House of Lords that is Britain's highest court, ruled [text] 5-0 Wednesday in favor of a high school's decision to ban a student from wearing a Muslim jilbab [Wikipedia backgrounder], a long garment that covers the entire body [read more]

14:03 EDT

[JURIST] Human rights activists around the world were subject to murder, assaults, imprisonment and other forms of repression in 2005 according to a joint report [PDF] issued Wednesday by the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) [advocacy website] and the Geneva-based World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) [advocacy website]. The [read more]

13:03 EDT

[JURIST] The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] on Wednesday reduced the life sentence [press release] of former Bosnian Serb mayor Milomir Stakic [ICTY case backgrounder; HRW backgrounder] to 40 years in prison. Stakic was a top official in the Prijedor Municipality [read more]

13:03 EDT

[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's environmental law news, Canadian Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice [official website] announced [press release] a new plan to improve drinking water in "First Nation communities," i.e., Indian reservations. The plan includes mandatory training [backgrounder] for treatment plant operators and standards [PDF text] for the design, construction, operation, [read more]

13:03 EDT

[JURIST] British Judge Advocate John Bayliss ruled Wednesday that Royal Air Force [official website] Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith, the first British officer to face criminal charges after challenging the conflict's legality will face a court-martial on five charges of failing to comply with a lawful order. Kendall-Smith [JURIST news archive], [read more]

12:03 EDT

[JURIST] The British government said Wednesday it would take up the case of one British resident currently held by the US at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], but stood by its decision not to intervene on behalf of five others. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) [official website] announced [read more]

12:03 EDT

[JURIST] Consumer protection organization Public Citizen [advocacy website] Tuesday filed suit [official press release; PDF complaint] in federal court in Washington, DC, challenging the constitutionality of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 [PDF text], which cuts approximately $39 billion in federal programs. In its suit, Public Citizen alleges that the [read more]

11:03 EDT

[JURIST] The government of Afghanistan said Wednesday that a court would rule on whether Abdul Rahman, accused of converting to Christianity, will face the death penalty for his conversion. Under Islamic law, apostasy is a capital offense. The case against him [JURIST report] has shocked many members of the international [read more]

10:03 EDT

[JURIST] Chilean Judge Victor Montiglio on Tuesday announced indictments and ordered the arrests of 13 retired Chilean military officers accused of directly participating in the Caravan of Death [BBC backgrounder], one of the most notorious events during the reign of former dictator Augusto Pinochet [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The [read more]

10:03 EDT

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Wednesday held that a police search of a couple's home, where one resident gave permission for the search but the other resident "unequivocally refused to give consent", is unconstitutional as to the resident who refused consent. The Court considered [read more]

09:03 EDT

[JURIST] As preparations continue [JURIST report] to establish a tribunal to prosecute those accused of killing former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive], UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Tuesday said that a mixed tribunal, with both international and Lebanese participation, is necessary to ensure that justice is done [read more]

09:03 EDT

[JURIST] The New Hampshire House of Representatives [official website] on Tuesday voted down a bill [HB 1354 text] that would have broadened the right to use deadly force in self defense when in public by a margin of 194-138. The State Senate approved a similar proposal, to remove the requirement [read more]

09:03 EDT

[JURIST] Russian diplomat Konstantin Dolgov has requested a UN briefing on conditions in UN detention facilities following the recent deaths of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic [JURIST news archive] and Croatian Serb Milan Babic [JURIST report]. Dolgov also asked Tuesday for information from UN officials on the state of an [read more]

08:03 EDT

[JURIST] In an effort to bring closure to the contentious issue of the fate of former Liberian President Charles Taylor [PBS profile], Liberia's new president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf [profile] on Tuesday called on African leaders to decide whether to place Taylor in the hands of a UN tribunal to face war [read more]

08:03 EDT

[JURIST] For the fourth day in a row, hundreds of protestors gathered [JURIST report] at a central square in Minsk on Wednesday to oppose what they claimed were the rigged results of the Belarus [JURIST news archive] presidential election, defying threats of a government crackdown and the possibility of arrest [read more]

07:03 EDT

[JURIST Europe] The largest UK trial of terrorism suspects since al Qaeda's September 11 attacks on the United States got under way in London's Old Bailey Tuesday with seven British men facing charges of planning bombings in Britain in retaliation for British support of US policy. Prosecutor David Waters [chambers [read more]

06:03 EDT

[JURIST Europe] UK Home Secretary Charles Clarke [official profile] told a UK Commons committee Tuesday that he has not given up on the option of detaining suspected terrorists for up to 90 days without charge, and may introduce additional legislation to that effect either next year or in 2008. Suspects [read more]

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