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Legal news from Thursday, May 25, 2006
by Tom Henry

As many as 300 reformist judges in Egypt who have called for more judicial independence from the government led by President Hosni Mubarak staged a silent protest in front of the High Court Thursday as hundreds of protesters cheered. Though protesters were greatly outnumbered by riot police, the demonstration unfolded without the violent confrontations [JURIST …

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by Tom Henry

In a reversal of his position from only a day earlier, Bosnian Prime Minister Adnan Terzic announced Thursday that he would form a commission to probe war crimes carried out in the current capital city of Sarajevo during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s. Terzic, who has been pushing Bosnia toward greater integration with Europe, …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The US Senate has approved the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 by a vote of 62-36. The bill would set millions of illegal immigrants on a path to potential citizenship and would authorize a temporary worker program. Thirty-two of the thirty-six senators voting against the bill were Republicans, including Trent Lott, …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A three-judge panel of the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals heard defense arguments in the appeal of three guilty bench verdicts handed down in 2004 to three US Muslims in the 'Virginia Jihad network' case. Masoud Khan was convicted of conspiracy to levy war against the United States and conspiracy to contribute services to …

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by Jeannie Shawl

Following an order from the British Information Commissioner, UK Attorney General Lord Goldsmith on Thursday made public additional details concerning the process surrounding the release of his March 7, 2003 memorandum expressing some reservations about the legality of the pending war against Iraq and events leading up to his March 17, 2003 statement …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The US House Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted 20-13 to approve the full committee markup of the Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006, the 'net neutrality' bill sponsored by Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI). The bill applies federal antitrust law to alleged breaches of 'net neutrality,' or situations where broadband service providers either …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The US Treasury Department announced on Thursday that it will no longer defend in court the federal excise tax on long-distance telephone calls, and will issue refunds to taxpayers of all monies paid on the tax since litigation began three years ago. Treasury Secretary John Snow estimates the refund, which will be …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Lawyers for former Russian nuclear minister Yevgeny Adamov announced Thursday their intention to appeal to the Russian Supreme Court a Moscow City Court decision to extend Adamov's detention until June 8. The defense lawyers said the extension was "groundless," and argued that prosecutors signed a document certifying that they have finished …

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by Jaime Jansen

Sameeh Hammoudeh, a co-defendant in a Florida terrorism case with former University of South Florida computer science professor Sami Al-Arian, was deported earlier this week, according to Hammoudeh's attorney. Federal officials took Hammoudeh to his home state of Jordan on Tuesday, where he crossed the border into the West Bank. A former teaching assistant and …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has said that his committee will hold an oversight hearing into the constitutionality of the FBI's 18-hour raid last Saturday night of the congressional offices of Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA). The FBI says it videotaped Jefferson accepting a $100,000 bribe from an informant. Calling the …

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by Joshua Pantesco

CNN is reporting that the jury in the 16-week criminal fraud and conspiracy case against Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling has found both defendants guilty. Lay and Skilling were charged with multiple counts of fraud and criminal conspiracy for providing investors with false and misleading financial information from 1999 up until Enron …

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by Jaime Jansen

A US bankruptcy judge in New York City on Thursday declined to extend an order to block the sale of the controlling stake of Mazeikiu Nafta, the largest oil refinery owned by crippled oil company Yukos. As a result, Yukos is expected to finalize the sale of the Lithuanian-based refinery to Poland …

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by Jaime Jansen

A panel of federal judges headed by US District Judge D. Brock Hornby of Maine has begun considering whether members of the federal bench should have their way paid to private seminars. Federal judges are currently allowed to go on expense-paid trips as long as they report the travel, but travel financed by private organizations has recently …

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by Jaime Jansen

Belarus plans to appeal decisions by the European Union and the United States to ban Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and other top government officials from entering their jurisdictions, according to a Lukashenko spokesman. Lukashenko on Tuesday instructed his government to prepare appeals against the decisions to be taken to international courts. Belarus …

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by Jaime Jansen

Congress has approved and sent to President Bush for his signature a measure designed to prevent demonstrators from getting close to military funerals at national cemeteries. The US Senate approved the final version of the Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act by unanimous consent Wednesday, and the US House followed suit with a voice …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, whose country held the EU presidency when France and the Netherlands voted against the European constitution, said Thursday that Germany's push to ratify the European Constitution will not be easy. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly pledged to revive the constitution when …

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by Jaime Jansen

The US Department of Justice argued Wednesday in a court filing that the US courts have traditionally been "ill-equipped" to judge harm to national security and that the executive branch should therefore decide whether information surrounding the US National Security Agency (NSA) domestic surveillance program should be disclosed. The DOJ made the …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A Tokyo District Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by South Korean families seeking damages for affronting the dignity of South Korean soldiers by recording their names in the Yasukuni Shrine, which commemorates the 2.5 million casualties of Japanese conflicts since 1869. The soldiers, whom Japan drafted while Korea was a Japanese colony, were …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A judge from the Iraqi town that is the focus of the ongoing Saddam Hussein trial was abducted by gunmen Wednesday. Dujail Judge Walid Ahmed was kidnapped from his car on the highway between Tikrit and Samarra, according to an Interior Ministry source. It is unclear whether the abduction was related to the trial. Last week, …

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by Jaime Jansen

US Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald suggested Wednesday that Vice President Dick Cheney may be a witness in the government's case against former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who is being prosecuted in connection to the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity. Fitzgerald believes Cheney's testimony would …

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by Jaime Jansen

A high-ranking US Army officer testified Wednesday in the court-martial of Sgt. Santos Cardona, the second of two soldiers accused of using unmuzzled dogs to terrify detainees during interrogations at the Abu Ghraib detention center in Iraq. Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, the former commander of military intelligence at Guantanamo …

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