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Legal news from Thursday, June 1, 2006
by Tom Henry

A study by the independent Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, headed by former UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix, has called for a total ban on the possession and use of nuclear weapons. At a UN press conference, Blix said the report, titled “Weapons of Terror: Freeing the World of …

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by Tom Henry

After re-examining the costs of cleaning up remaining oil from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, the US Justice Department and the state of Alaska said Thursday that they would use a "reopener" provision in an earlier agreement with ExxonMobil and seek $92 million in unforeseen damages. "After extensive review it is clear …

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by Tom Henry

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has agreed to support President Bush's deployment of National Guard troops along the Mexican border by sending 1,000 Guard members from California to join the effort. As part of the agreement, the federal government will reportedly cover the cost of sending the troops, who will aid the US Border Patrol.Schwarzenegger was …

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by Jaime Jansen

AP is reporting that a military jury has found US Army Sgt. Santos A. Cardona guilty of abusing detainees at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. Cardona was charged with maltreatment of prisoners, dereliction of duty and assault in connection with the use of unmuzzled dogs when questioning detainees at Abu Ghraib. Sgt. Michael Smith was …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A spokesperson for German spy agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) on Thursday said that a low-ranking agent knew in January 2004 that German citizen Khalid el-Masri had been arrested in Macedonia and turned over to American authorities, but failed to report the story to his superiors. The spokesperson said the agent overheard a conversation …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Defense lawyers in the Saddam Hussein trial on Thursday accused US and Iraqi officials of illegally detaining four witnesses who testified Wednesday that chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Musawi had tried to bribe them to testify against Hussein, and that Musawi was present for a 2004 celebration of the Dujail massacre that is at issue in …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on Thursday issued an order lifting the confidentiality of its health records for Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav leader accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity who died suddenly in the ICTY detention facility at Scheveningen on March 11, in the fifth …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Swedish Riksdag has approved a law that could allow the country to incarcerate former Liberian President Charles Taylor if he is convicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), government officials said Thursday. The parliament gave unanimous approval Wednesday to an agreement with the SCSL, which will …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Swedish Riksdag has approved a law that could allow the country to incarcerate former Liberian President Charles Taylor if he is convicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), government officials said Thursday. The parliament gave unanimous approval Wednesday to an agreement with the SCSL, which will …

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by Jaime Jansen

An additional 14 Guantanamo Bay detainees have gone on hunger strike, Navy Cmdr. Robert Durand said Thursday, bringing the total number of detainees on hunger strike to 89 after it was announced Monday that the number of detainees on hunger strike ballooned from three to 75. Six of the 89 hunger strikers are being …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A federal judge on Thursday ordered Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum to comply with discovery requests related to a lawsuit filed by legal watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) against the Department of Justice seeking to reveal why the government suddenly lowered its demands for relief in …

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by Jaime Jansen

Former Russian nuclear minister Yevgeny Adamov suffered from a heart attack Thursday while in custody on fraud and abuse of office charges. Adamov's lawyers told Interfax news that although Adamov has received treatment, his health is deteriorating and he needs immediate medical care, but investigators have ignored recommendations from Adamov's doctors.Adamov was …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Supreme Court of Spain on Thursday overturned the Sept. 11 conspiracy conviction of Syrian-born Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, but upheld his conviction as the leader of an al Qaeda cell in Spain. Yarkas has repeatedly denied alleged connections with Sept. 11 orchestrator Mohamed Atta, the basis of his overturned conspiracy …

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by Jaime Jansen

Kenya's National Assembly has unanimously approved a sex-crimes law after a month of heated debate over several controversial provisions, most of which were dropped in order to pass the bill [AllAfrica.com report]. Legislators dropped provisions criminalizing marital rape and female genital mutilation, as well as a provision shifting the burden of proof from the accuser to the accused. The …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US President Bush on Thursday urged Congress to negotiate a comprehensive immigration reform bill that recognizes that "America can be a lawful society and America can be a welcoming society at the same time." In a speech at the US Chamber of Commerce, Bush said that the final immigration reform bill should include a …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Montgomery County Circuit Judge James Ryan has sentenced convicted Washington, DC-area sniper John Allen Muhammad to six consecutive life terms in prison without the possibility of parole. Muhammad was convicted by a Maryland jury of six counts of murder earlier this week. Last year, Muhammad was convicted and sentenced to death in Virginia …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Mark Corallo, a former spokesperson for ex-Attorney General John Ashcroft, filed an affidavit in federal court in San Francisco on Wednesday criticizing subpoenas issued by current Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to compel two San Francisco Chronicle reporters to reveal the source of leaked grand jury testimony. The affidavit was filed in support of the reporters' …

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by Jaime Jansen

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday condemned the conviction and imprisonment on last week of 13 Chinese villagers who participated in a riot in Dongzhou last December. The 13 villagers were jailed for up to seven years for disturbing social order, possession of explosives, and illegal assembly while police who abruptly …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Federal Election Commission said Wednesday that it will not appeal a ruling ordering it to either present a "reasoned explanation" for its case-by-case treatment of campaign contribution issues involving tax-exempt 527 groups [Opensecrets.org backgrounder], or to institute new rules "if necessary." The FEC voted 4-2 to explain how the FEC …

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by Jaime Jansen

Umer Hayat, who was accused of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his son's terrorism-related activities, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a lesser charge of trying to smuggle $28,000 in cash into Pakistan three years ago. Umer, who will not serve any more prison time after spending nearly a year in custody, would have faced a …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Jordanian government said Wednesday that it intends to introduce a bill in parliament that will eliminate prison sentences for journalism-related crimes, just one day after a court sentenced two newspaper editors to two months in jail for "attacking religious sentiment" by reprinting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The journalists were arrested in February …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The Iraqi High Tribunal (IHT) - formerly known as the Iraqi Special Tribunal - has issued two arrest warrants for former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz for crimes against humanity, according to Aziz's Italy-based lawyers. Aziz is already in custody, but Giovanni Di Stefano says that he has received a letter …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The probe charged with finding out why top US military officials did not know about the alleged killings of 24 Iraqis by US Marines in Haditha in November 2005 until February 2006 has uncovered two major failures in how the incident was handled, the Washington Post reported Thursday. According to an anonymous military official, the …

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by Jaime Jansen

The United States has again suspended $7 million government-to-government aid to Serbia for failing to turn over Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic. This is the fourth year in a row that the US suspended some aid to Serbia's government for not handing over war crimes suspects to the International Criminal …

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by Jaime Jansen

The New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, heard oral arguments Wednesday on whether the court should overturn the state's 97-year old statute defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. On appeal from four consolidated cases - Hernandez v. Robles, Samuels v. New York State Department of Health …

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by James M Yoch Jr

The Orleans Parish Criminal District Court building in New Orleans officially reopens Thursday morning, and the first criminal trials since Hurricane Katrina struck at the end of August are scheduled to start on Monday. According to Chief Judge Calvin Johnson, the court will be able to hear 12 or fewer cases a day in …

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