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Legal news from Friday, February 9, 2007
by Gabriel Haboubi

South African President Thabo Mbeki promised in his annual state of the nation address Friday to reduce crime by increasing the police force and reducing unemployment. South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world; averaging 50 murders a day. Additionally, last year there were more than half …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled unanimously Friday that US citizen and suspected terrorist Shawqi Omar has a right to argue his case before a US court. In a simultaneous 2-1 decision, the court upheld last year’s District Court injunction [JURIST …

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by Joe Shaulis

The US Environmental Protection Agency on Friday finalized a regulation intended to slash toxic emissions from automobiles and related sources through the year 2030. EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson said the new standards will be phased in for fuel containers in 2009, for cars in 2010 and for gasoline in 2011. The EPA …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

A North Carolina State Senator proposed a bill Thursday that will protect doctors who assist in executions from disciplinary actions. Senate Bill 114, filed by Republican State Senator Phil Berger, will shield health care professionals including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists from any disciplinary or corrective measures by any board, commission, or other authority …

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by JURIST Staff

Russian prosecutors said Friday their case against former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner, Platon Lebedev, is solely a criminal matter and not politically motivated. A spokesperson for the Prosecutor General’s Office said Khodorkovsky wreaked "serious damage" upon the Russian economy. Last December, Khodorkovsky …

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by Joe Shaulis

The US District Court of Maine has ruled that the Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) cannot compel Verizon Communications to disclose whether the telephone company participated in the warrantless domestic surveillance program run by the US National Security Agency (NSA). In Bangor Thursday, US District Judge John Woodcock …

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by JURIST Staff

The government of Spain agreed Friday to declassify and deliver to Spanish High Court Judge Ismael Moreno intelligence documents he ordered from Spain's National Intelligence Center pertaining to secret CIA "rendition flights" that transferred suspected terrorists between countries. The documents show that dozens of planes stopped at the Spanish holiday …

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by Joe Shaulis

The European Commission proposed Friday that all EU member nations criminalize serious environmental offenses and impose minimum sanctions for violations. Commission Vice President for Justice, Freedom and Security Franco Frattini said the proposed directive [Q/A] would prevent environmental criminals from exploiting discrepancies between member states' criminal law systems. The directive would have all …

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by Lisl Brunner

Australian Attorney General Philip Ruddock Friday denied contentions by lawyers representing Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks that comments made by the head of the US military prison indicated he would not get a fair trial. US Navy Rear Admiral Harry Harris, commander of Joint Task Force-Guantanamo …

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by Lisl Brunner

The Constitutional Court of Colombia has ruled that same-sex couples must be accorded the same property rights as other unmarried couples. With eight votes in favor and one abstention, the court held unconstitutional a 1990 law creating a presumption that property held by "a man and a woman" who lived together in de facto marriage for …

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by Michael Sung

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California filed a class action lawsuit against the federal government Thursday, alleging that "its practice of indefinitely delaying citizen applications" violated due process rights protected by the Constitution and federal statutes and regulations governing immigration. The immigrant plaintiffs in the case, all long-time lawful permanent residents of the …

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by Michael Sung

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour filed an amicus curiae or "friend of the court" brief with the Iraqi High Tribunal Thursday arguing that imposing the death penalty on former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan would be a violation of Iraq's obligations …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The US military's determination that there is not sufficient evidence to support allegations of abuse at Guantanamo Bay prompted Amnesty International Thursday to renew its calls for an independent investigation into the allegations. In a statement, Amnesty called the military's investigation into the abuse allegations "flawed" as …

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by Michael Sung

US Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald rested the prosecution's case Thursday in the trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. As the prosecution's final witness, Tim Russert, Washington bureau chief for NBC News, testified Wednesday that he was unaware of former undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity until reading Robert D. Novak's …

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by Jeannie Shawl

Italy's Cabinet approved a controversial proposal Thursday that would give legal rights to unmarried heterosexual and same-sex couples. The proposal, which has been harshly criticized by the Italian justice minister and the top Italian bishop, would give unmarried couples combined medical insurance, the right to visit their partner …

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