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Legal news from Thursday, February 1, 2007
by Robert DeVries

US Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald played portions of White House briefing room videos Thursday as the trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby continued. Fitzgerald said the tapes show Libby's eagerness to publicly conceal conversations he had with reporters about CIA official Valerie Plame. US District Judge Reggie B. Walton allowed …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Muhammad Salah and Abdelhaleem Ashqar, two of three men indicted in 2004 by a US federal grand jury on charges of engaging in a 15-year conspiracy of providing funds to Hamas, were found not guilty of racketeering Thursday. While the men were exonerated of the most serious crime alleged, they were convicted of lesser …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The Eminent Jurist’s Panel (EJP), an arm of the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), announced the results of an inquiry into Russian anti-terrorism efforts Thursday, concluding after two days of public hearings that many recently adopted anti-terrorism laws are curtailing civil rights and leading to state abuses. Of the eight …

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by Robert DeVries

Morocco will become the first Arab country to eliminate the death penalty, a state representative confirmed on Thursday. President of the Consultative Committee on Human Rights, Ben Dhikri, made the comments in the run-up to this week's 3rd World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Paris. Dhikri confirmed that Moroccan MPs and Morocco's King …

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by Leslie Schulman

China is prepared to work with other countries to create an agreement that would prevent an arms race in space, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said on Thursday. The statement comes amid international outcry after confirmations that China had successfully launched a missile that destroyed a weather satellite earlier this month. Many countries expressed …

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by Leslie Schulman

The UN Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) has raised only half of the $33 million needed for the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, according to prosecutor Steven Rapp. Rapp, who spoke in New York Tuesday while seeking additional funding for the trial, said that unlike …

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by Leslie Schulman

The French Parliament has put off debate on whether to allow class action lawsuits in the country's legal system after the French National Assembly struck proposed legislation from its February schedule in a push to get out other bills before the close of parliamentary sessions. The class action legislation was introduced at …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A UK jury Thursday convicted Abdul Saleem of inciting racial hatred for his role in leading protests outside the Danish embassy in London in February 2006 against the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that first appeared in a Danish newspaper in September 2005. Saleem was charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting words or …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US soldiers taunted detainees at Guantanamo Bay with pictures of Saddam Hussein's hanging in "an attempt to intimidate and compel submission under a threat of death and mentally torture," according to comments made Thursday by a defense lawyer for Australian Guantanamo detainee David Hicks. After visiting Hicks at at the detention …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A federal judge Wednesday reduced a $2.5 million punitive damage award to $1 million in a Hurricane Katrina insurance case, finding the award excessive at twelve times the amount of economic damages awarded. US District Judge L.T. Senter issued a direct verdict against State Farm in January holding the …

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by Katerina Ossenova

A Spanish judge on Wednesday ordered the National Intelligence Center, Spain's state intelligence agency to declassify any documents it has about secret CIA extraordinary rendition flights. The order comes in Judge Ismael Moreno's investigation of whether CIA rendition flights stopped at Spanish airports before transferring terrorism suspects to countries where they could …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Sudanese Justice Minister Mohammed Ali al-Mardi said Wednesday that the Sudanese government can do a better job prosecuting war crimes in Darfur than the International Criminal Court (ICC). In an interview with AP, al-Mardi reiterated Sudan's position that they country is "willing and able to try all perpetrators of offenses in Darfur" and that the ICC "has …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A federal district judge on Wednesday vacated the conviction of former Enron CFO Kevin Howard in light of an August 2006 opinion by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that overturned separate Enron convictions "on the legal ground that the government's theory of fraud relating to the deprivation …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Class action representatives Jennifer Gratz and Patrick Hamacher have settled their suit challenging the former affirmative action policies of the University of Michigan after a district judge on Wednesday issued an order approved the settlement terms, decertified the class, and dismissed the case. The university will pay $10,000 to Gratz and Hamacher to settle all claims. The …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US District Judge Reggie Walton on Wednesday denied several motions challenging the ongoing detentions of 16 Guantanamo Bay detainees, ruling that until the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit decides whether civilian judges may hear cases under the 2006 Military Commissions Act (MCA), he is without jurisdiction to consider …

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