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Legal news from Thursday, October 19, 2006
by Gabriel Haboubi

Portugal's Parliament Thursday approved holding a national referendum allowing voters to decide on making abortion legal up until the 10th week of pregnancy. Current Portuguese abortion law allows the procedure up until the 12th week of pregnancy, but only in cases of rape, fetal malformation, or risk to the mother’s health. Parliamentary …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

International Committee of the Red Cross President Jakob Kellenberger said Thursday that certain provisions of the newly-signed Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) are too vague and could weaken protections guaranteed under the Geneva Conventions. In an interview, Kellenberger expressed particular concern with the Act's …

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by Ryan Olden

The New York State Supreme Court Thursday ordered former New York Stock Exchange chairman Richard A. Grasso to pay back a major portion of the compensation paid to him while he held that position between 1995 and 2003. Justice Charles E. Ramos held that Grasso "failed in duty" to keep …

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by Katerina Ossenova

A Superior Court of Ontario judge Thursday threw out part of a secrecy law invoked to search a reporter's home for the source of the story she published on Maher Arar. Juliet O'Neill, a journalist with the Ottawa Citizen newspaper, had her home raided in 2004 after she published …

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by Katerina Ossenova

The US Defense Department Office of the Inspector General has concluded that the US military's use of a propaganda program in Iraq was legal, a Pentagon spokesman said Thursday. While the program involved planting and paying for favorable news about US operations in Iraqi newspapers, the IG report - not yet publicly available - concludes that no …

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by Katerina Ossenova

The US District Court for the District of Columbia on Thursday denied an emergency motion to prevent the US military from surrendering translator and accused kidnapper Mohammad Munaf, a US citizen, to Iraqi officials to face the death penalty. Munaf was convicted and sentenced to death by an Iraqi judge after …

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by Natalie Hrubos

Human Rights Watch (HRW) confirmed for the first time Thursday that Hezbollah used cluster bombs during the recent conflict with Israel. According to HRW:International humanitarian law (the laws of war) obliges warring parties to distinguish between combatants and civilians (the principle of distinction) and, when attacking legitimate military targets, to ensure that the …

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by Natalie Hrubos

A massive demonstration attended by thousands of people protesting the disappearance of Jorge Julio Lopez clogged the streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina on Wednesday. The protest represents the third time such a demonstration has taken place since the 77-year-old witness went missing last month after testifying against a former police official sentenced last month …

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by Jeannie Shawl

Four US Army soldiers have been ordered to face court-martial for allegedly murdering Iraqi detainees in Thar Thar, a town near Samarra, some 60 miles north of Baghdad. Pfc. Corey R. Clagett, Spc. William B. Hunsaker, Staff Sgt. Raymond L. Girouard and Spc. Juston R. Graber allegedly released several detainees after a May 9 raid on a suspected insurgent …

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by Natalie Hrubos

Judge Richard Posner of the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit expressed skepticism Wednesday that an Indiana law requiring voters to show ID cards at the polls would prevent some citizens from casting ballots. During oral arguments in a lawsuit challenging the Indiana law as disproportionately burdensome for the …

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by Jaime Jansen

Hussein Rasheed, one of five co-defendants facing charges in the Saddam Hussein genocide trial, on Thursday claimed Iraqi court guards beat him in the presence of US witnesses after Chief Judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa threw both Hussein and Rasheed out of court last week. A spokesman for the court denied Rasheed's allegations saying …

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by Jaime Jansen

Florida Judge Janet E. Ferris of the Leon County Circuit Court ordered that election supervisors be prohibited from affixing signs at polling places warning that votes for former US Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) will be counted for replacement candidate Joe Negron. Dawn Roberts of the State Elections Division previously told …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Several domestic and foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in Russia will be forced to shut down after missing Wednesday's deadline to obtain the necessary permits required by a controversial new law. Foreign-funded NGOs are required to register with the Ministry of Justice and provide detailed financial data and program plans for approval. Up to 500 NGOs are …

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by Jaime Jansen

Britain's High Court on Thursday overturned a lower court ruling that London Mayor Ken Livingstone brought his office into disrepute by making controversial comments to a Jewish journalist. The court ruled that Livingstone's comments did not breach the Greater London Authority Code of Conduct. The court said Livingstone brought disrepute on himself …

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by Jaime Jansen

Lawmakers in the southern California city of Escondido approved an ordinance [Union-Tribune report] Wednesday that will prohibit landlords from renting their properties to illegal immigrants. The measure requires landlords to submit documentation to city authorities to prove their tenants' immigration status. If found in violation, landlords could face suspension of their business licenses and …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Israel's High Court has urged the country's military to reconsider its ban on entry by Palestinians and allow a Palestinian woman to study in Israel. Sawsan Salameh was denied entry to Israel by the military after she was accepted to study chemistry and pursue a doctoral degree at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A …

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by Katerina Ossenova

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales insisted Wednesday that the newly-signed Military Commissions Act of 2006 that has drawn harsh criticism from rights groups and many legal experts cannot be used to infringe on the rights of US citizens and provides every suspect with a full and fair …

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by Jeannie Shawl

Three more US Marines will face courts-martial for their roles in the April kidnapping and murdering of an Iraqi civilian in Hamdania. Camp Pendleton officials said Wednesday that Lance Cpl. Tyler Jackson, Lance Cpl. Robert B. Pennington and Cpl. Trent D. Thomas will face charges of murder, kidnapping, conspiracy, housebreaking, …

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by Holly Manges Jones

Turkey's broadcasting watchdog urged a boycott Wednesday of French television programs and movies to protest the French parliament's approval of a bill that criminalizes denial of an Armenian genocide. The board of directors of RTUK unanimously recommended the boycott after the French National Assembly passed …

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by Holly Manges Jones

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo Thursday declared a state of emergency in the Nigerian state of Ekiti after Governor Ayodele Fayose was impeached by state lawmakers earlier this week following his conviction for corruption charges. Obasanjo called Fayose's removal unconstitutional because lawmakers replaced the chief judge who had been presiding over Fayose's corruption trial. …

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by Holly Manges Jones

A former guard at the Nazi Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria has been released from a Michigan jail after Germany, Romania and Hungary all refused to take custody of him, according to a spokesman for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Johann Leprich, 81, joined the Waffen-SS and worked as a guard …

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