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Legal news from Wednesday, May 24, 2006
by James M Yoch Jr

A federal jury Wednesday convicted Shahawar Matin Siraj of conspiracy and other charges Wednesday for his role in a failed plot to bomb a New York City subway station in 2004. Siraj, a Pakistani immigrant who first drew authorities' attention for expressing anti-American sentiments after 9/11, and another suspect, James Elshafay, were …

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by James M Yoch Jr

US Marines involved in the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians in Hadithah last November will face charges and possible courts-martial, according to US Marine Corps Gen. Michael W. Hagee, who said on Wednesday that a criminal investigation was underway. He did not say who will be charged or what they will be charged with. According to allegations …

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by James M Yoch Jr

US Marines involved in the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians in Hadithah last November will face charges and possible courts-martial, according to US Marine Corps Gen. Michael W. Hagee, who said on Wednesday that a criminal investigation was underway. He did not say who will be charged or what they will be charged with. According to allegations …

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by James M Yoch Jr

Former US President Jimmy Carter told a conference of human rights leaders at the The Carter Center in Atlanta Wednesday that immigration was a human rights issue and that he backed the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act now advancing through the Senate. In an op-ed that appeared in the …

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by James M Yoch Jr

A magistrate in Sierra Leone Wednesday granted bail of $8,000 each to three men charged with inspecting a prohibited area and conspiracy to assist former Liberian president Charles Taylor escape from prison at the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), a war crimes tribunal. The suspects were reportedly caught …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Three Egyptian journalists and a lawyer have been charged with slandering a local election commission chief by alleging fraud in Egypt's November parliamentary election and publishing the names of two judges accused of rigging results in a runoff poll. The journalists - two writing for the independent Sawt al-Umma weekly and a third being the editor of …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Regulators at the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) have announced a $400 million settlement with the Federal National Mortgage Association, or Fannie Mae. A 348 page report issued by the OFHEO on Tuesday found the federally-backed, shareholder-controlled lender guilty of violating reporting …

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by Jaime Jansen

A lawyer for the government of Sudan urged the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Wednesday to dismiss a lawsuit brought by families of the 17 sailors killed in the 2000 terrorist attack on the USS Cole alleging that Sudan helped finance the attack and allowed an al-Qaeda operative …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A federal judge on Wednesday gave final approval to a $6.6 billion settlement between former Enron shareholders and the three banks accused of helping Enron hide financial shortcomings to deceive investors. Lead plaintiff's attorney William Lerach said the money will be paid as soon as possible to shareholders, with the Canadian Imperial Bank of …

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by Jaime Jansen

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Tuesday remanded a case involving a permanent government ban on speech when an individual receives a National Security Letter (NSL), stating that the ban pursuant to the Patriot Act as now amended by the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed nationally-coordinated complaints on Wednesday against telecommunications companies and the attorneys general of twenty states requesting investigations into the legality of information sharing between phone companies and the National Security Agency (NSA). Unlike the complaint filed by Illinois residents Monday asking AT&T to stop …

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by Jaime Jansen

US Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) on Wednesday demanded that the Federal Bureau of Investigation return all evidence seized in its search of the congressional office of Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) last weekend in connection to Jefferson's alleged involvement …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Pro-unification advocates favoring the continuation of Montenegro's association with Serbia announced Wednesday that they will challenge results of Sunday's referendum vote that resulted in 55.5% of the Montenegrin population voting for independence. Bloc for Joint State leader Predrag Bulatovic said he plans to file an appeal with the referendum commission before the Wednesday …

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by Jaime Jansen

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) warned that ongoing sectarian violence is significantly hindering human rights progress in the country in a bi-monthly report released Tuesday. Execution style killings reached 70 a day in Baghdad in the wake of the February Shiite shrine bombing in Samarra. …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Iraqi government announced Wednesday that it had apprehended Saddam Hussein nephew Bashar Sabawi Ibrahim Hassan al-Tikriti with the assistance of Lebanese police. The statement was ambiguous as to whether al-Tikriti was extradited from Lebanon, and did not specify what Hussein's nephew will be charged with, though it generally referred to crimes against the people of Iraq [JURIST news …

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by Jaime Jansen

The US Senate on Wednesday voted 73-25 in favor of invoking cloture on the Immigration Reform Bill and limiting debate on the bill. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) has indicated that he would like to hold final vote on the immigration bill by the end of the week. The vote to …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Government officials in the Congo said Wednesday that 32 American, South African, and Nigerian nationals have been arrested in connection with an alleged coup attempt aimed at destabilizing the country before the July 30 national elections, though critics allege the arrests were politically motivated. Those arrested were employed in Congo by the US firm Omega Risk …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US Secretary of State spokesperson Sean McCormack on Tuesday blasted Syria for arresting human rights leaders and called for Syria to release all political prisoners. Syrian security police last week arrested human rights lawyer Anwar al-Bunni, prominent writer Michel Kilo and Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt in what …

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by Joe Shaulis

Government officials have asked the Supreme Court of Chile to place a gag order on former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori to prevent him from discussing the upcoming presidential election in Peru. Fujimori was released on bail last week while Chile courts decide whether he should be extradited to Peru, where …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct, an independent state agency charged with investigating judicial improprieties, has admonished Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan L. Hecht for using the prestige of his office to promote the nomination of Harriet Miers to the US Supreme Court. An admonition is the least severe punishment the Commission …

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by Jaime Jansen

A court in Croatia on Wednesday indicted former Yugoslav Defense Minister Veljko Kadijevic and former airforce commander Zvonimir Jurjevic on charges of indiscriminate shelling of civilians during Croatia's 1991-95 war of independence from the former Yugoslavia. At least 30 people died in eastern Croatia as a result of the shellings. The indictment comes at …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A US military spokesperson said Tuesday that the condition of two of the Guantanamo Bay detainees who attempted suicide last week is improving and both are expected to make full recoveries. The two men, neither of whom were prescribed antidepressants, overdosed on anti-anxiety medication they had stockpiled in an attempted suicide. On the same day, other detainees …

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by Joe Shaulis

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has said the government does not need court approval to obtain domestic telephone records because they are not protected by the US Constitution's Fourth Amendment according to the Supreme Court's 1979 decision in Smith v. Maryland. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Gonzales said that under Smith v. Maryland there is …

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by Jaime Jansen

The Dutch parliament official website] has approved a new anti-terror bill that dramatically lowers the amount of evidence needed for Dutch police to arrest terror suspects and allows officials to hold suspects for up to two weeks without charge. The law will go into effect immediately and allows prosecutors to approve various surveillance methods for terror suspects without any …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Michael Copps has said the FCC is authorized under Title 1 of the Communications Act of 1934 to create agency rules to combat breaches of "net neutrality." Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Copps suggested that the FCC would be protecting the public interest by writing and enforcing clear …

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by Jaime Jansen

The trial of David Safavian, former chief of staff at the General Services Administration (GSA) and former White House chief procurement officer, begins Wednesday. Safavian is charged with making false statements to Senate and GSA officials in an investigation into to Safavian's relationship with former Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff during …

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by Joe Shaulis

Authorities in five countries have arrested 565 people as part of Operation Global Con, the US Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission announced Tuesday. Officials said the suspects received more than $1 billion from some 2.8 million Americans who thought they were paying to get credit cards, claim sweepstakes winnings, make investments …

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by Jaime Jansen

Tariq Aziz, the former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister under Saddam Hussein's regime, testified on behalf of Hussein Wednesday at the Iraqi High Criminal Court, where Hussein and seven co-defendants are on trial for the crackdown against Shiites in Dujail following an assassination attempt in 1982, including the execution of 148 villagers. Aziz …

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by Angela Onikepe

In a newly released five minute audio tape found on an Islamist website Tuesday, a man claiming to be Osama bin Laden said that convicted September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui was not intended to be one of September 11 hijackers as he had not finished his flying training, and …

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by Angela Onikepe

Former French president and author of the beleaguered European Constitution, Valery Giscard d'Estaing is calling for the EU constitution rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005 to be put to new referendums. Citing domestic political issues as the culprit in derailing the ratification of the regional charter, …

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