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Legal news from Wednesday, June 7, 2006
by Joshua Pantesco

The disciplinary committee of Spain's General Judicial Council said Wednesday that it will investigate why Spanish judge Juan Del Olmo failed to apply for an extension of the detainment of a suspect in the March 11, 2004 Madrid train bombings. As a result of Del Olmo's failure to ask for the …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Washington's gay civil rights act took effect on Wednesday, after opponents of the legislation failed to collect enough signatures to put the bill before voters. The law rewrites Washington's Civil Rights Act to include the phrase "sexual orientation" among the classes of people protected from housing discrimination, lending, and employment. Opponents of the bill failed …

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by Jaime Jansen

The US Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday revived debate on the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act (FAIR) at a Judiciary Committee hearing to discuss changes to the bill. The asbestos compensation bill outlines a plan that would create a $140 billion trust fund financed through revenues from …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Chinese government has postponed the trial against former New York Times researcher Zhao Yan, which was scheduled to begin Thursday, Zhao's lawyer said Wednesday. Zhao was indicted for "providing state secrets to foreigners" following a 2004 New York Times report that revealed the resignation of Jiang Zemin as head of the military before it …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A Dutch court convicted arms dealer Guus Kouwenhoven of violating the UN embargo against former Liberian President Charles Taylor's government, but found him not guilty of war crimes, saying he did not have direct knowledge of the atrocities committed during the Liberian civil war. Kouwenhoven was generally accused of trading guns for timber …

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by Jaime Jansen

Fourteen European countries collaborated with the US Central Intelligence Agency by taking an active or passive role in a "global spider's web" of secret prisons and rendition flights, Swiss legislator Dick Marty said Wednesday in a report from the Legal Affairs Committee of the Council of Europe, as part of the CoE's investigation into alleged …

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by Joshua Pantesco

French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday that he supports changing a proposed immigration bill now under debate in the French Senate to allow some children of illegal immigrants currently attending French schools to remain in the country. According to administration officials, as many as 800 residency permits will be made available …

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by Jaime Jansen

American jurists control the court trying Saddam Hussein by directing the judge and controlling meetings between the defense team and Hussein, one of Hussein's lawyers said Tuesday. In a Beirut news conference, Bushra al-Khalil, the controversial defense lawyer who has been thrown out of court twice, said a team of American jurists passes notes …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The US Senate Wednesday morning voted 49-48 against holding an up-or-down vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment, rejecting a motion to invoke cloture. Though the Senate voted to continue debate on the resolution, the issue is not expected to remain on the agenda for debate on the Senate floor, …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Over 250 Afghans were arrested, 141 are still in custody, and 52 have confessed to crimes committed during anti-American riots in Kabul last week in response to an incident where a US military vehicle collided with 12 civilian vehicles in northern Kabul, the Afghani national security director said Wednesday. At least seven people were killed during the …

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by Jaime Jansen

Iraqi officials on Wednesday released nearly 600 detainees who had been in Iraqi and US custody – the first of 2,500 detainees slated to be released under the order of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. In the interest of national reconciliation, Maliki said Tuesday that detainees without clear evidence against them and without Iraqi "blood …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A French trial court has ordered the French government and the state-controlled railway SNCF to pay 60,000 euros, or about $80,000 US, in compensation to a Jewish family for complicity in crimes against humanity. The case was brought by European Parliament member Alain Lipietz and his sister on behalf of their father and …

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by Joe Shaulis

Australian Prime Minister John Howard and his Cabinet have announced that the federal government will set aside legislation allowing same-sex civil unions in the Australian Capital Territory, the federal district that includes Canberra. Speaking Tuesday at a press conference, the prime minister said: Well I can indicate that the legislation by …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), chairman of the US Senate Judiciary Committee, has said that he has abandoned his plan to subpoena executives of three top phone companies after Vice President Dick Cheney said Tuesday that national security concerns would prevent executives from speaking about allegedly providing phone records to the NSA. Verizon and BellSouth have denied …

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by Joe Shaulis

UK Attorney General Lord Peter Goldsmith will call for prosecutors to study whether the British court-martial system is adequate for prosecuting soldiers accused of misconduct in Iraq, the Times of London reported Wednesday. The development follows Tuesday's acquittal of three infantrymen accused of manslaughter in the death of a 15-year-old Iraqi boy …

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by Jaime Jansen

The US Department of Defense has issued comprehensive guidelines for the treatment of detainees that direct doctors to force-feed detainees who endanger their own lives as a result of a hunger strike. The guidelines, aimed primarily at the recent wave of hunger strikes by detainees at Guantanamo Bay, also gives …

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by Bernard Hibbitts

A Vatican panel Tuesday condemned same-sex marriage as a major threat to the family, along with abortion, contraception and in vitro fertilization. The Pontifical Council for the Family, founded by Pope John Paul II in 1981, issued a 57-page document titled "Family and Human Procreation," saying that …

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by Jaime Jansen

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales called the May FBI raid of the congressional office of Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) an "unusual" but necessary step on Tuesday, comparing the office search to past searches of the homes and vehicles of other members of Congress. The US Department of Justice has consistently defended …

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