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Legal news from Wednesday, October 18, 2006

[JURIST] In a joint news conference Wednesday with Moqtada al-Sadr [BBC profile], a militant Shiite cleric and head of the Mehdi Army militia, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [BBC profile] expressed hope for speedy proceedings against former president Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] and proclaimed that “God willing the death … [read more]

[JURIST] Members of an Ethiopian inquiry team charged with investigating violent mass demonstrations [JURIST report] following the May 2005 elections and separate protests [JURIST report] about ballot fraud in November 2005 announced Wednesday that 193 civilians were killed by Ethiopian security forces during the violence, nearly three times the official … [read more]

[JURIST] A US district court judge from the Northern District of Texas [official website] has ruled that the one-year statute of limitations for bringing libel suits in Texas applies equally to articles posted on the Internet and articles in print. In dismissing a lawsuit against the Dallas Morning News [media … [read more]

[JURIST] A military court in Jordan [JURIST news archive] found eight Islamic militants guilty Wednesday of plotting to attack Americans and Israelis in Jordan and of planning to kill US forces being trained in both Jordan and Iraq. The convicted eight, including three still at large, were reportedly part of … [read more]

[JURIST] Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] told federal judge Alejandro Solis during a meeting Wednesday that he neither participated in nor was aware of the torture of thousands of citizens at Villa Grimaldi prison [Wikipedia backgrounder], the infamous political detention center allegedly operated by Pinochet’s … [read more]

[JURIST] A civil court in Berlin Wednesday dismissed two claims against a German distributor of the drug Vioxx [JURIST news archive], manufactured by US pharmaceutical firm Merck & Co. [corporate website], citing plaintiffs' failures in both cases to demonstrate a causal connection between the drug and symptoms. The court held … [read more]

[JURIST] Plans for the organization of a national human rights commission in Iraq [JURIST news archive] were announced Wednesday by members of the Iraqi parliament [official website] at a workshop sponsored by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) [official website]. The proposed commission, supported by many Iraqi political … [read more]

[JURIST] Seventy-eight people have been charged with bankruptcy fraud and related counts as a result of a nationwide federal law enforcement sweep entitled "Operation Truth or Consequences," a top US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] official announced [press release] Wednesday. Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty [official profile] said … [read more]

[JURIST] Four US soldiers implicated in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl [JURIST news archive] and the murder of her family in the Mahmudiya (also "Mahmoudiya") area in March have been referred to trial by general court-martial, military officials at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, announced Wednesday. Two of … [read more]

[JURIST] US Army Col. Richard Basset traveled to the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] Wednesday to begin an investigation into accusations of abuse [JURIST report]. The US Defense Department last week ordered [press release, PDF] US Southern Command [official website], which oversees the military facility, to … [read more]

[JURIST] UK Prime Minister Tony Blair [official profile] blamed judges and political opponents for the disappearance of two terror suspects [JURIST report] during his monthly news conference [transcript] on Wednesday, insisting that his attempts to enact stronger terrorism legislation "were prevented by opposition in Parliament and then by the courts … [read more]

[JURIST] The father of Australian Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee David Hicks [JURIST news archive] has said that Hicks' defense team will challenge the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [text, PDF] signed into law [JURIST report] by President Bush Tuesday. Terry Hicks said Tuesday that the new legislation leaves … [read more]

[JURIST] The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) [advocacy website] has filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF; press release] against the US Department of Homeland Security [official website] and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) [official website], claiming the agencies illegally employed information from databases such as the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System … [read more]

[JURIST] Russian hockey team Metallurg Magnitogorsk [team website; Wikipedia backgrounder] on Wednesday sued Evgeni Malkin, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the NHL [TSN report] in a dispute over the star hockey player's move from Russia to the National Hockey League, the second such lawsuit to be filed this week by a … [read more]

[JURIST] Canadian Justice Minister Vic Toews [official profile] has defended a new crime bill [C-27 text] introduced by the country's Conservative Party government which could require repeat criminal offenders to convince courts that they are no longer dangerous instead of requiring Crown prosecutors to establish a continuing threat. Toews resisted … [read more]

[JURIST] Defense lawyers acting for Saddam Hussein in his genocide trial [JURIST news archive; BBC timeline] again failed to appear in court Wednesday, despite an agreement [JURIST report] with the chief judge allowing them to rejoin the proceedings. The lawyers have been boycotting the trial [JURIST report] to protest the … [read more]

[JURIST] The Turkish Parliament [official website, in Turkish] on Tuesday passed a resolution condemning a French bill [text, in French] that criminalizes any refusal to characterize the WWI-era mass killings of Armenians [ANI backgrounder] in Turkey as genocide, but did not take any further retaliatory action. The bill passed France's … [read more]

[JURIST] US Army Col. Thomas Pappas [Wikipedia profile] testified Tuesday that the senior officer running the interrogation center at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST news archive] was concerned when he was chosen that he did not have the proper training or experience questioning prisoners to assume that role at the … [read more]

[JURIST] Advocacy groups and policymakers have reacted strongly to the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [PDF text; S 3930 summary], signed into law [JURIST report] by President Bush on Tuesday, calling it a denial of civil liberties while predicting it will fold under court scrutiny. The ACLU said the bill … [read more]

[JURIST] The air transportation system used by the federal government to deport illegal immigrants and transfer federal prisoners could be more secure and cost-effective, according to an audit report [PDF text] released Tuesday by the Department of Justice Inspector General. Known as the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System (JPATS) … [read more]

[JURIST] The Jewish organization Kahane Chai [CFR backgrounder] was properly designated as a terrorist organization by the US Department of State [official website] in 1997 and former Secretary of State Colin Powell [official profile] in 2003, a federal appeals court held Tuesday. In 2003, Powell also decided that 20 other … [read more]

[JURIST] The government of the Georgian Republic [official backgrounder] on Tuesday publicly accused Russia [JURIST news archive] of inhuman treatment and committing "gross violations" of international standards while rounding up Georgian nationals for deportation. One Georgian man died at the Moscow airport from an asthma attack after allegedly being denied … [read more]

[JURIST] A federal judge on Tuesday permitted a lawsuit, filed on behalf of 3,000 emergency workers who allege health problems resulting from the cleanup of the Sept. 11 attacks [JURIST news archive] at the World Trade Center site, to proceed beyond the summary judgment stage against the city of New … [read more]

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