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Legal news from Wednesday, October 18, 2006
by Leslie Schulman

In a joint news conference Wednesday with Moqtada al-Sadr, a militant Shiite cleric and head of the Mehdi Army militia, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki expressed hope for speedy proceedings against former president Saddam Hussein and proclaimed that “God willing the death sentence verdict will be issued soon against the tyrant Saddam …

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by Alexis Unkovic

Members of an Ethiopian inquiry team charged with investigating violent mass demonstrations following the May 2005 elections and separate protests 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 number reported by the government. Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi …

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by Jonathan Rhein

A US district court judge from the Northern District of Texas 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, columnist Scott Burns,, and parent company Belo …

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by Leslie Schulman

A military court in Jordan 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 Al-Taa'efa al-Mansourah, a group …

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by Alexis Unkovic

Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet 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, the infamous political detention center allegedly operated by Pinochet’s secret police in Chile between 1974 and …

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by Brett Murphy

A civil court in Berlin Wednesday dismissed two claims against a German distributor of the drug Vioxx, manufactured by US pharmaceutical firm Merck & Co., citing plaintiffs' failures in both cases to demonstrate a causal connection between the drug and symptoms. The court held that "expressing a vague suspicion is not enough" in dismissing …

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by Brett Murphy

Plans for the organization of a national human rights commission in Iraq were announced Wednesday by members of the Iraqi parliament at a workshop sponsored by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). The proposed commission, supported by many Iraqi political parties, will employ nine persons selected by the Iraqi parliament …

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by Brett Murphy

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 announced Wednesday. Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty said the charges arose out of 18 separate cases of bankruptcy …

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by James M Yoch Jr

Four US soldiers implicated in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl 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 the soldiers, Pfc. Jesse Spielman and Sgt. Paul Cortez, could …

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by Holly Manges Jones

US Army Col. Richard Basset traveled to the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay Wednesday to begin an investigation into accusations of abuse. The US Defense Department last week ordered US Southern Command, which oversees the military facility, to investigate allegations that military guards beat detainees and took away …

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by Brett Murphy

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair blamed judges and political opponents for the disappearance of two terror suspects during his monthly news conference on Wednesday, insisting that his attempts to enact stronger terrorism legislation "were prevented by opposition in Parliament and then by the courts in ensuring that was done." The missing uncharged suspects were …

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by James M Yoch Jr

The father of Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks has said that Hicks' defense team will challenge the Military Commissions Act of 2006 signed into law by President Bush Tuesday. Terry Hicks said Tuesday that the new legislation leaves the previous system for military commissions virtually intact, although it …

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by James M Yoch Jr

The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Homeland Security and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), claiming the agencies illegally employed information from databases such as the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), which tracks predominantly Muslim visitors, immigrants, and students to …

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by David Shucosky

Russian hockey team Metallurg Magnitogorsk on Wednesday sued Evgeni Malkin, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the NHL 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 Russian Super Hockey League team. The lawsuit, seeking an injunction …

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by Holly Manges Jones

Canadian Justice Minister Vic Toews 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 criticism calling the proposed law unconstitutional, saying the presumption of …

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by Holly Manges Jones

Defense lawyers acting for Saddam Hussein in his genocide trial again failed to appear in court Wednesday, despite an agreement with the chief judge allowing them to rejoin the proceedings. The lawyers have been boycotting the trial to protest the behavior of Chief Judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa, appointed by the …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Turkish Parliament on Tuesday passed a resolution condemning a French bill that criminalizes any refusal to characterize the WWI-era mass killings of Armenians in Turkey as genocide, but did not take any further retaliatory action. The bill passed France's lower house last week but still needs approval …

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by Holly Manges Jones

US Army Col. Thomas Pappas testified Tuesday that the senior officer running the interrogation center at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison was concerned when he was chosen that he did not have the proper training or experience questioning prisoners to assume that role at the facility. At the Article 32 hearing, …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Advocacy groups and policymakers have reacted strongly to the Military Commissions Act of 2006, signed into law 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 denies due process and constitutional protections to detainees, …

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by Joshua Pantesco

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 released Tuesday by the Department of Justice Inspector General. Known as the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System (JPATS), the system leased jets from Boeing to transport …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Jewish organization Kahane Chai was properly designated as a terrorist organization by the US Department of State in 1997 and former Secretary of State Colin Powell in 2003, a federal appeals court held Tuesday. In 2003, Powell also decided that 20 other organizations were aliases for Kahane Chai, including the website Kahane.org. …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The government of the Georgian Republic on Tuesday publicly accused Russia 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 medical care during five days of detention, according to the …

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by Joshua Pantesco

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 at the World Trade Center site, to proceed beyond the summary judgment stage against the city of New York, the Port Authority, New Jersey, and hundreds of contractors. …

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