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Legal news from Tuesday, September 19, 2006
by Lisl Brunner

US Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner (R-VA) expressed cautious optimism in a possible legislative compromise Tuesday after the White House sent to Capitol Hill new language for a military commissions bill, commenting that he thought an accord would be reached soon. The White House version [PDF text, White House fact …

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by Lisl Brunner

A US District Court judge in Chicago has held that plaintiffs in a class action suit lack standing to challenge a new federal law requiring Medicaid recipients to present passports, birth certificates or other proof of citizenship at the risk of losing benefits. Plaintiffs have announced that they will appeal the preliminary ruling by Judge Ronald Guzman …

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by Katerina Ossenova

A Georgia judge held a new Georgia law requiring voters to show ID cards unconstitutional in a ruling Tuesday. State Superior Court Judge T. Jackson Bedford Jr. held that the controversial voter ID law is not required under the Georgia constitution and would disenfranchise otherwise qualified voters. …

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by Jeannie Shawl

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan Tuesday urged global action to combat three challenges facing humanity - human rights and the rule of law, security, and development - as the UN General Assembly opened its 61st session. In his speech, Annan reflected on his 10-year tenure as secretary-general due to end …

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by Katerina Ossenova

The Secure Fence Act of 2006 providing for the construction of a 700-mile fence along the US-Mexico border is going up for a Senate floor vote as early as Wednesday after Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) filed a cloture motion earlier this week to break a potential filibuster. The …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Jordan's General Intelligence Department (GID) frequently makes arbitrary arrests, detains suspects without charges and abuses political dissidents, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a new report released Tuesday. The monitoring group found that detainees are arbitrarily arrested and held in GID's detention facility in Amman without access to their family or a …

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by Brett Murphy

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told members of the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Tuesday that Congress should mandate the preservation of customer records by Internet service providers in order to aid the prosecution of child pornography offenders. Testifying at a hearing, Gonzales maintained that lack of access to …

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by Jeannie Shawl

AP is reporting that the Royal Thai Army has revoked the 1991 Thai constitution and declared martial law in a coup ousting Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is in New York for the opening of the 61st session of the UN General Assembly. Earlier Tuesday, amid rumors of …

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by Brett Murphy

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has directed the FCC's inspector general to investigate the alleged concealment of a 2004 draft working paper on television ownership and a 2003 draft report on radio ownership.. FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin said in a Monday letter …

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by Brett Murphy

The London Metropolitan Police pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to criminal charges under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act for "failing to provide for the health, safety and welfare" of the public in causing the death of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, shot and killed by London police officers last year …

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by Brett Murphy

Chief Judge Abdullah al-Amiri was removed from presiding over the second Saddam Hussein trial on Tuesday, Al-Iraqiya state television reported. A replacement judge, who has not yet been named, has been requested by the Iraqi prime minister. A government spokesman told Reuters: "We have asked the court to replace the judge because he has lost his …

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by James M Yoch Jr

Corporal David Payne, one of seven British soldiers facing court-martial for charges relating to the abuse of Iraqi detainees, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a charge of inhumane treatment, becoming the first British soldier to admit commission of a war crime in Iraq. Payne pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and perverting the course of justice. …

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by Jeannie Shawl

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra declared a state of emergency in Bangkok Tuesday after army tanks assembled around government buildings in the city, blocking traffic. In the face of a rumored coup in Thailand, Thaksin, who is in New York for the opening of the 61st session of the UN General Assembly, …

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by James M Yoch Jr

The number of violent crimes increased in 2005 for the first time since 2001, according to the 2005 annual report on violent crime published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Monday. The report details a 2.3 percent rise to 1.39 million cases of murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault and other violent crimes. The …

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by James M Yoch Jr

Reported incidents of anti-Muslim bias, harassment, discrimination and violence in the US increased by 29.6 percent in 2005, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest US Muslim civil liberties group, announced Monday. A new CAIR report entitled "The Struggle for Equality," indicates a jump from 1,522 cases of anti-Muslim bias …

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by Jeannie Shawl

Lawyers for Guantanamo Bay detainee Shaker Aamer, a UK resident held by the US since 2002, filed a motion in federal district court Monday seeking Aamer's release from solitary confinement, arguing that Aamer's almost year-long isolation violates the Geneva Conventions, which require that prisoners be treated humanely. According …

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by Jeannie Shawl

Iraq's National Assembly on Tuesday again postponed debate on a draft federalism bill that would allow Iraq's 18 provinces to form strong governments with their own security forces. Parliament Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani said Tuesday that the bill, supported by Kurdish and Shiite politicians and opposed by most Sunnis, would be debated at a later date. …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The trial of Simon Bikindi began Monday at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda with prosecutors accusing the popular singer of "us his fame to incite hatred" during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. According to an ICTR press release:In his opening statement the Prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow stated that …

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