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Legal news from Wednesday, December 6, 2006
by James M Yoch Jr

The US House of Representatives Wednesday rejected by a vote of 250-162 a controversial bill that would have mandated medical practitioners to inform women seeking an abortion after 20 weeks of the pain the procedure causes to an unborn fetus. The Unknown Child Awareness Act, HR 6099, introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) …

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by Robert DeVries

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa ordered the Zambian Police Service Wednesday to ban future rallies led by populist opposition politician Michael Sata, disregarding recommendations by national Solicitor-General Sunday Nkonde. Mwanawasa had ordered police to stop the rallies led by Sata's supporters, but Nkonde overruled the orders and allowed the meetings to occur. …

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by Brett Murphy

The Sri Lanka cabinet enacted strict new anti-terror laws Wednesday that ban individuals from aiding anyone "engaged in terrorism" and prohibit the wearing of uniforms "relating to terrorism." The new laws also give police and security forces additional broad powers to arrest and interrogate terror suspects. The laws come as a response to the increasing conflict and …

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by Brett Murphy

Charles McArthur Emmanuel, also known as Roy Belfast Jr. and Charles Taylor Jr., son of former Liberia president Charles Taylor, was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida on charges of committing torture in the first prosecution …

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by Brett Murphy

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on Wednesday mandated that Dutch officials force-feed Serb nationalist and war crimes defendant Vojislav Seselj in the event that the hunger strike he has been engaged in since November 11 threatens his life. The panel nonetheless advised authorities to proceed with …

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by James M Yoch Jr

Rwandan President Paul Kagame publicly alleged Wednesday that France supported the 1994 genocide that wracked the African nation. Kagame previously accused the French government of providing training and weapons to Hutu militias who perpetrated the 100-day massacre that left over 800,000 Tutsis and Hutus dead. This is nonetheless the …

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by James M Yoch Jr

FBI Director Robert Mueller refused to answer questions Wednesday during an FBI oversight hearing before the US Senate Judiciary Committee about the administration's domestic spying program, saying the information is classified. Mueller, who acknowledged that information about the program had been divulged to congressional intelligence committees, claimed that …

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by Holly Manges Jones

The Australian Parliament Wednesday voted to lift restrictions on stem cell research and permit the therapeutic cloning of human embryos. Members of the House of Representatives voted 82-62 in favor of lifting the previous therapeutic cloning ban; the Senate approved the measure last month. The House vote followed a contentious debate, with Australian Prime Minister …

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by Jeannie Shawl

A court in Yemen on Wednesday found Mohammad al-Assadi guilty of denigrating Islam and fined him 500,000 rials ($2,541) for republishing offensive cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad earlier this year. Al-Assadi, editor of the Yemen Observer, said the guilty verdict was "baseless" and that he would appeal the decision. The newspaper temporarily had its …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Cambodian government is interfering with the adoption of court rules to govern the upcoming Khmer Rouge genocide trials, advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Tuesday. Tribunal judges convened last month to establish court rules for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), which is scheduled to begin trials for surviving Khmer …

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by Holly Manges Jones

Fiji military commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama declared a state of emergency Wednesday and appointed a new prime minister and head of police in the South Pacific island nation after overthrowing the government in a military coup Tuesday. In a statement released over the radio Tuesday evening, Bainimarama dismissed criticism of the coup …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Saddam Hussein appeared in court Wednesday, despite an earlier vow not to attend future proceedings in his genocide trial, and looked on as presiding Judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa called a final witness for the prosecution. The prosecution has presented more that 70 witnesses, including several US forensic experts describing mass graves believed …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said Tuesday that it will appeal a November ruling ordering the agency to reinstate certain housing payments for victims of Hurricane Katrina due to FEMA's failure to clearly explain to evacuees why they were denied housing assistance under the Stafford Disaster Relief …

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by Jeannie Shawl

Australia's Federal Court has agreed to hold a hearing next week to consider a petition filed Wednesday by lawyers for Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks. Hicks' lawyers have asked the court to direct the federal government, including Australian Attorney-General Philip Ruddock and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, to negotiate Hicks' …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A US District Court judge has refused to entertain a motion to stay the execution of Saddam Hussein that was filed by Italian advocate Giovanni di Stefano, an advisor to Hussein's defense team. US District Judge Emmet Sullivan rejected the motion because di Stefano is not admitted to practice before the …

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by Jeannie Shawl

Lawyers for several Chinese detainees still held at Guantanamo Bay have filed a lawsuit in US federal court seeking their release due to the flawed process by which they were determined to be enemy combatants. The group of seven ethnic Uighurs were deemed enemy combatants by Guantanamo's Combatant Status Review Tribunals, while five other …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The US military is close to charging at least five US Marines in connection with the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha last November, a military spokesperson said late Tuesday. Though specific details have not yet been disclosed, some Marines may be charged with murder and others with the lesser charge of negligent homicide. The 24 …

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