Legal news from Thursday, June 8, 2006
15:06 EDT

[JURIST] Vice President Dick Cheney Thursday met accusations from Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) that he had interfered with Specter's proposal to have his committee subpoena three phone companies accused of allegedly providing records to the National Security Administration by saying [letter, PDF] that he often makes contact with [read more]

14:06 EDT

[JURIST] Supporters of repealing the federal estate tax failed Wednesday to get enough votes to begin floor debate on the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act of 2005 [HR 8 text], which would allow wealthy families to avoid the estate tax, which can be as high as 46%, on the portion [read more]

14:06 EDT

[JURIST] The first commissioned US military officer to publicly refuse to join the war in Iraq did so Wednesday, calling the war "unlawful" in a taped statement [recorded video] played at a press conference in Tacoma, Washington, near the US Army base at Ft. Lewis [official website]. First Lt. Ehren [read more]

13:06 EDT

[JURIST] Wednesday's Council of Europe (COE) [official website] report [PDF text; JURIST report] accusing 14 European countries of taking an active or passive role in a "global spider's web" of secret CIA prisons [COE materials] and rendition flights [JURIST news archive] has drawn sharp rebukes from the US, the UK, [read more]

13:06 EDT

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] accused Sudan's Special Criminal Court on the Events in Darfur [backgrounder] of failing to accomplish its mission of prosecuting war crimes, in a briefing paper [text] released Thursday. In a press release [text], a senior HRW counsel said the court has only prosecuted petty [read more]

12:06 EDT

[JURIST] In retaliation for a travel ban imposed on several Belarus leaders by the European Union and the United States [JURIST reports], Belarus Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Popov said Thursday that Belarus will impose retaliatory travel bans [press briefing] on foreign officials supporting the travel bans, and also threatened to [read more]

12:06 EDT

[JURIST] A Russia-based international human rights group claimed Wednesday that it has turned over to authorities documentary proof of the existence of Russian-operated secret prisons in Chechnya [BBC backgrounder] which the group claimed to have discovered in a southern district of Grozny, the capital city. Memorial [advocacy website] said they [read more]

11:06 EDT

[JURIST] The Canadian government intends to introduce new anti-terror legislation this fall that would fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism, particularly in the area of diamond sales, the Globe and Mail reported Thursday. The legislation is expected to incorporate the recommendations of a government consultation paper [materials] published [read more]

10:06 EDT

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice [official website] has said it will seek to dismiss 20 lawsuits accusing telecommunications companies Verizon, AT&T, and BellSouth [corporate websites] of illegally providing customer phone records to the National Security Agency [official website] in conjunction with the NSA's domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive]. [read more]

10:06 EDT

[JURIST] Two British soldiers who were found not guilty [JURIST report] by a military tribunal in the 2003 drowning of a 15-year-old Iraqi boy may resign from service to protest the UK's prosecution of the case. The two soldiers say that "wetting" looters in Basra was standard practice, encouraged by [read more]

10:06 EDT

[JURIST] A prominent British medical ethicist is advocating the legalization of euthanasia, including for patients incapable of consent. Len Doyal [CV, PDF], emeritus professor of medical ethics at Queen Mary, University of London, writes in this month's issue of Clinical Ethics [journal website] that physicians cause some patients to suffer [read more]

10:06 EDT

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives has voted 379-35 [roll call] to pass the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act [S 193 summary], a bill which would increase the maximum indecency [JURIST news archive] fines levied by the Federal Communications Commission [official website] from $32,500 to $325,000 per station for each violation. [read more]

10:06 EDT

[JURIST] A federal judge in Oregon allowed a sexual abuse lawsuit against the Catholic Church to move forward Wednesday, rejecting the Vatican's bid to dismiss the suit for lack of jurisdiction. The ruling allows a Seattle-area man to continue with his claim [complaint, PDF] that the Holy See [official website] [read more]

09:06 EDT

[JURIST] Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [BBC profile] announced Thursday that Iraq's parliament has approved his nominee for the country's controversial Interior Ministry, ending a three-week stalemate between Shiite and Sunni political blocs. Nominees for the defense and national security ministries were also approved, completing the formation of Maliki's new [read more]

09:06 EDT

[JURIST] Carla Del Ponte [official profile], chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website] has said that she will ask the UN Security Council [official website] to grant the ICTY power to apprehend former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [ICTY case backgrounder; BBC profile] and [read more]

08:06 EDT

[JURIST] Gen. Michael Hagee [official profile], commandant of the US Marine Corps, has said he will not resign amid investigations into whether Marines killed Iraqi civilians in unprovoked attacks, adding that he is responsible for the training of his troops and will ensure those involved are held accountable if the [read more]

08:06 EDT

[JURIST] A Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee from Yemen involved in a clash with guards [JURIST report] in May told his defense lawyer that guards had instigated the incident when they tried to handle Korans owned by detainees, the defense lawyer said Wednesday. The Yemen detainee's account contradicts reports [read more]

06:06 EDT

[JURIST] A military court in Syria [JURIST news archive] has sentenced writer Mohammad Ghanem to six months in prison for "insulting the Syrian president, discrediting the Syrian government and fomenting sectarian unrest," a human rights group said Wednesday. The charges stem from Ghanem's articles published on a website he edits, [read more]

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