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Legal news from Friday, November 24, 2006
by Bernard Hibbitts

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney Friday filed a request with the state's Supreme Judicial Court to put a measure effectively banning same-sex marriage on the 2008 Massachusetts ballot if legislators fail to vote on the issue before the end of their term on January 2. Romney took the anticipated action after state …

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by Michael Sung

The UN Committee against Torture (CAT) urged Russia Friday to investigate and prosecute what it called the "widespread use of torture" in Chechnya. The human rights body cited "reliable reports" of the existence of secret detention facilities where "detainees faced torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment." CAT also expressed …

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by Michael Sung

The International Bar Association (IBA), the leading global organization of legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies, announced Friday that it has canceled a training program for Cambodian lawyers representing defendants in the genocide trial of Khmer Rouge leaders. The program had faced opposition from the Cambodian Bar Association, which saw the …

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by Michael Sung

Hartmut Nassauer, German head of a European Parliament delegation visiting Indonesia, said Friday that adopting Sharia law would negatively affect Indonesia's relations with other states. Nassaeur emphasized that Islamic law should not affect Indonesia's legal code, stating that the liberty of faith "includes the right to live without faith and consequently [an individual …

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by Michael Sung

Two Turkish Christians have gone on trial for their alleged "public denigration of the Turkish identity." Hakan Tastan, 37, and Turan Topal, 46, allegedly made insults against Turkey while attempting to convert other Turks to Christianity. The two defendants are being charged under Article 301 of Turkey's penal code, which makes insulting "Turkishness" a crime. The two …

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by Bernard Hibbitts

The government of Rwanda cut diplomatic ties with France Friday in protest at a French judge's recommendation that Rwandan President Paul Kagame face trial in connection with the 1994 downing of a plane carrying then-President Juvenal Habyariman, whose death triggered a genocide that killed over 800,000 people. French anti-terrorism judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere [BBC …

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by Ryan Olden

The Beijing Higher People's Court Friday turned down an appeal by Hong Kong reporter Ching Cheong [advocacy website; SCMP Q/A] against his August conviction for passing state secrets. The presiding judge deemed the trial court's ruling "accurate in application of the law and appropriate in meting out punishment," according to a report by state news agency Xinhua. The ruling …

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by Bernard Hibbitts

Legal services in the UK are set to be revolutionized after the British government Friday published a much-anticipated bill that would remove the right of the legal profession to regulate itself and would allow other businesses - such as banks and even, in theory, supermarkets - to own law practices. The legislation, which would also …

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by Bernard Hibbitts

Thailand Army Commander-in-Chief General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, the leader of the military coup that deposed civilian prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in September, told CNN in an interview broadcast Friday that the martial law imposed on the country in the aftermath of the takeover would be lifted by the …

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by Bernard Hibbitts

Italian Minister of Culture Francesco Rutelli has demanded that the Getty Museum in Los Angeles return all the allegedly-looted Italian antiquities it is said to possess, and not just the 26 pieces of a total of 46 that it has already undertaken to hand back. Negotiations with the Getty over the looted objects broke …

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