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Legal news from Friday, June 23, 2006
by Joshua Pantesco

Turkey's Supreme Court on Friday announced that the corruption trial of former Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz has been indefinitely suspended, meaning that the charges against Yilmaz will be dropped if he does not face similar accusations within the next five years. Yilmaz and former Economics Minister Gunes Taner were accused of pre-determining the winner [JURIST …

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by Jaime Jansen

Canada authorities confirmed Friday that they had asked Germany to detain Iranian prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi if he passed through German territory after attending the inaugural meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, as an observer. Mortazavi is widely suspected of being present in July 2003 when Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Friday struck down a US Securities and Exchange Commission rule regulating hedge funds. The rule required hedge fund advisors responsible for at least $30 million in assets to register with the SEC, thus subjecting them to legal scrutiny for potential …

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by Joshua Pantesco

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair on Friday called for new laws to narrow the gap between the public's desire for justice and outcomes that are perceived to unfairly favor defendants, in a a major criminal justice policy speech delivered in Bristol. Citing public concern over recent controversial decisions involving sentences for sex offenders, Blair …

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by Jaime Jansen

A UK Court of Appeal on Friday dismissed a case arguing that Britain's ban on fox hunting with dogs infringed on human rights. The Countryside Alliance challenged a Hunting Act 2004, saying it was unnecessary for a democratic society and that it violates human rights that protect the right to private and family life, …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) formally began its work Thursday to investigate and document human rights abuses occurring in Liberia from 1979 to 2003. The TRC was inaugurated in February by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who said that the commission is intended to heal the war-torn …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The US Department of Justice announced the arrest of seven men Friday for conspiring to bomb the Sears Tower in Chicago and the FBI headquarters in Miami. A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment Friday charging the seven defendants with conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda; conspiring to provide material support, training, …

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by Jaime Jansen

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour denounced human rights abuses committed during the war on terror Friday, urging governments to give terror suspects a fair trial and reminding them of the "absolute ban on torture" in remarks to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). In her statement, …

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by Joshua Pantesco

UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Nicolas Michel stressed the importance of not sacrificing justice by "granting amnesty in ending conflicts" at a UN Security Council meeting Thursday on strengthening international law. Michel said that ending impunity for war criminals is one of the most important developments in international law over the last 15 …

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by Jaime Jansen

Iraq released 500 detainees from Abu Ghraib prison Friday as part of an ongoing national reconciliation plan first announced by new Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki earlier this month. Maliki promised that 2,500 prisoners held in US detention facilities and under Iraqi custody would be released if the detainees "are not Saddam …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Japanese Supreme Court Friday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni shrine, according to a court spokesperson who did not provide details on the ruling. The suit was brought by 338 plaintiff survivors of South Korean, Japanese, and Chinese soldiers killed during wars involving …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Two Russian officials switched roles Thursday, as President Vladimir Putin appointed former Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov to the justice minister post several hours after former Justice Minister Yury Chaika was approved as the new prosecutor general in a 91-1 vote by the Federation Council, the upper house of parliament. Ustinov resigned from the justice minister …

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by Jaime Jansen

The Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court has delayed the verdict in the trial of Zhao Yan, a former New York Times researcher, a defense lawyer said Friday. Zhao has been indicted for "providing state secrets to foreigners" following a 2004 New York Times report that revealed the resignation of Jiang Zemin as head of …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Republican House leaders Thursday clarified the timing and purpose of proposed nationwide immigration hearings, deflecting criticism that the hearings were intended to delay a House vote on comprehensive immigration reform until after November elections. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert told a news conference Thursday that hearings will begin the first week …

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by Jaime Jansen

Canadian Justice Minister Vic Toews introduced a bill in the Canadian House of Commons Thursday that would raise the age of sexual consent to 16 in a bid to crack down on Internet predators. If the legislation is passed, it would mark the first time Canada has changed the age of consent …

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by Jeannie Shawl

European Union diplomats on Thursday agreed to revive an agreement with the United States that compels European airlines to disclose information about passengers flying from Europe to the US. The EU and US first reached such an agreement in 2004, but the European Court of Justice struck down the agreement last month …

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by Jaime Jansen

Saddam Hussein and his seven co-defendants ended a brief hunger strike late Thursday after Hussein missed only one meal. Hussein began the hunger strike in protest of the murder of one of his defense lawyers early Wednesday morning and to highlight the need for additional security. At the outset of the hunger …

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by Jaime Jansen

US Central Intelligence Agency counterterrorism agents secretly reviewed financial records of Americans listed in an international database after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, focusing on people with links to al Qaeda, according to reports by the New York Times late Thursday and the Los Angeles Times Friday. The database, from a Belgian cooperative named …

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