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International brief ~ Uganda rights body warns about lack of judicial, press freedom

[JURIST] Leading Friday's international brief, the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) [advocacy website] in Uganda has issued a report warning that the independence of the judiciary and the freedom of the press have been seriously impinged upon in the past year. In a report documenting the activities of the government with regards to human rights issues in 2005, FHRI asserts that violations by government agents are on the rise and include the interference and disruption of the free press, the use of indefinite detention and even torture by government police forces. Uganda's human rights record has been on the decline since 2003, when current Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni [BBC profile] alleged that members of a yet-unconfirmed rebel group called the People's Resistance Army attempted to seize control of the government. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Uganda [JURIST news archive]. Uganda's Daily Monitor has local coverage.

In other international legal news ...

  • Secretary General of the League of Arab States Amr Musa [official profile] told reporters Thursday that he supported the African Union (AU) [official website] decision to extend the AU peacekeeping force [JURIST report] in Darfur [JURIST news archive] until the end of September. Musa also said that Sudan should not be forced to accept "foreign troops" on its soil unless it agrees to do so, a thinly-veiled reference to the continued pressure on Sudan [JURIST report] to allow a UN peacekeeping force to take over from a severely under-funded and under-manned AU force. Sudan has repeatedly expressed its rejection of any UN peacekeeping force [JURIST report] comprised of non-African peacekeepers. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Sudan [JURIST news archive]. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.

  • A Supreme Court [official website] ruling in Nepal [government website] dealt a significant blow to the aspirations of the rebel Maoist party to attain legitimacy as a political party. The Nepalese Supreme Court held that there was insufficient evidence to prove that the Maoist party was in fact a political organization devoted to governmental change within the boundaries of the constitution. The ruling allows the Nepal Monarchy to continue to classify Maoists as terrorists and employ powers granted by anti-terrorism legislation against the rebels. The Supreme Court issued a separate opinion on the Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Control and Punishment) Ordinance, 2005 [text] (TADO) in which it held that the provisions granting the government the power to detain individuals for up to one year without charging them with a crime did not violate the Nepalese Constitution. The law had been challenged as unconstitutional under Nepal's human rights protections. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Nepal [JURIST news archive]. eKantipur.com has local coverage.

  • Zimbabwean High Court Judge Alphas Chitakunye has denied bail to Peter Hitschmann, a national accused of planning to assassinate Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile]. Chitakunye also permitted the government to alter its charges against Hitschmann in order to allow trial to proceed, as the charges as originally filed could not be proven with the evidence the government had in its possession. Defense lawyers for Hitschmann have already announced their intent to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court on the grounds that the executive branch was interfering with the trial. Chitakunye took over the case after the original High Court judge assigned to the case recused himself [ZimOnline report] on the order of the attorney general. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. ZimOnline has local coverage.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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