[JURIST] King Gyanendra [official profile; BBC profile] of Nepal [JURIST news archive] announced a strict all-day curfew Saturday that forced pro-democracy leaders to postpone a large rally organized by the country's seven main political parties. He ordered violators to be shot on sight. Government officials said the curfew was imposed out of concern that Maoist rebels would use the rally as a cover to launch terrorist attacks. A Communist Party of Nepal [advocacy website] leader said protestors hope to reschedule the rally for Sunday, continuing a general strike that has been ongoing for several days. Gyanendra's curfew came just two days after police arrested 300 protestors [JURIST report] in 16 demonstrations across the capital city of Kathmandu. Witnesses claimed police opened fire on protestors Saturday in the city of Pokhara where one person died and at least two sustained injuries.
Earlier this week, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan [official website] criticized [statement text] Gyanendra's various efforts to counteract anti-government protests. In a televised address Friday, Gyanendra made his first public plea for peace. AP has more.
A new temporary worker program should not provide amnesty. Granting amnesty would be unfair to those who follow the rules and obey the laws. Amnesty would also be unwise, because it would encourage others to break the law and create new waves of illegal immigration. We must ensure that those who break our laws are not granted an automatic path to citizenship.
Bush blamed Democrats for stalling what he called a "promising bipartisan compromise" on immigration law changes that failed a key Senate vote [JURIST report] early Friday, and called on Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid to "end his blocking tactics and allow the Senate to do its work." AFP has more.
[JURIST] A US military lawyer acting as defense counsel for a Yemeni prisoner on trial for terrorism-related offenses before a military commission [DOD backgrounder; JURIST news archive] at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] on Friday challenged a US Department of Defense regulation that says that only military attorneys with security clearances are allowed to see secret documents relating to their cases, effectively precluding detainees from representing themselves. Army Maj. Tom Fleener [Wikipedia profile] said that self-representation was recognized as a right by virtually every court in the world, and argued that "the secretary of defense and his delegees [sic] have messed this thing up" by enforcing procedural rules that make impossible a fair trial of detainees as mandated by presidential order.
Defendant Ali Hamza al-Bahlul has been directly tied to Osama bin Laden. Al-Bahlul has been boycotting his trial [JURIST report] since the military commissions resumed in January after a year-long hiatus. In March he specifically claimed that no "enemy" US military lawyer could represent him, demanding instead that he be allowed to defend himself or hire a Yemeni lawyer. Reuters has more.
[JURIST] UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Juan Mendez [official profile] said Friday that the international community remains reluctant to contribute the funds and military personnel necessary to stop genocide worldwide, as he spoke at a press conference on the 12th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda [JURIST news archive], during which some 800,000 Rwandans - mostly Tutsis - were killed over 100 days. Mendez said the ongoing conflict in Sudan's Darfur [JURIST news archive] region provides just one example of the world's lack of commitment, likening the situation there to that in Rwanda in 1994.
In a related development Friday, Belgian Minister of Development Cooperation Armand De Decker [official profile] asked the country's parliament to consider enacting a law that would prohibit citizens from denying the Rwandan genocide, perhaps modeling the new initiative after a 1995 Belgian law that prohibited citizens from denying the occurrence of the Holocaust. Rwanda is a former Belgian colony. AP has more. Reuters has additional coverage.
[JURIST] Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed [CBC profile], alleged to have masterminded the 2004 Madrid train bombings [JURIST news archive], claimed Friday in papers filed with the Italian court hearing his criminal case that he had been mistreated by Spanish and Italian law enforcement since his 2004 arrest in Milan [JURIST report]. In a handwritten pleading, Ahmed accused law enforcement officials of beating him about his face and body, and at one point severely breaking his nose. He also accused guards of humiliating him by forcing him to "pray" before them. Ahmed, whose trial opened in January [JURIST report], is accused of conspiring to engage in international terrorism under an Italian anti-terrorism law passed in response to the September 11th attacks in the United States. AP has more.
Ahmed's complaint came on the same day that Italian investigators accused him in court testimony of advocating Jihadism in Spain and recruiting young people in that country to participate in terrorist attacks. Friday's testimony came in addition to earlier wiretap evidence in which Ahmed took full credit for the 2004 train bombings; however, Ahmed continues to deny any involvement in those bombings. Reuters has more.
[JURIST] The Santiago Court of Appeals [Chilean judiciary website in Spanish] Friday dismissed two charges against former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] of forging Chilean Defense Ministry [official website, in Spanish] documents and failing to declare assets in a tax return, while upholding his tax evasion indictment [JURIST report] on other two other counts, including passport falsification. The indictment stems from an investigation of Pinochet's secret offshore back accounts reportedly worth at least $27 million and established by the former dictator under false names. Pinochet defense lawyer Pablo Rodriguez said he expects the remaining charges to be dismissed in the future, reiterating claims that Pinochet has already paid back taxes [JURIST report] on the funds.
Separately, Pinochet still faces charges of human rights violations occurring during his 1973-1990 rule. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet [BBC profile] said this week [JURIST report] that Chile [JURIST news archive] will continue to prosecute cases from the Pinochet regime. Reuters has more.
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