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Legal news from Tuesday, February 13, 2007
by Ryan Olden

Freed Egyptian cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, the victim of an alleged 2003 CIA kidnapping and extraordinary rendition from Milan, is planning a lawsuit against the United States and Italy, according to his lawyer Montasser al-Zayat. Zayat told the Washington Post Monday after …

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by Ryan Olden

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Tuesday upheld a freeze on the assets of the Islamic-American Relief Agency of Columbia, Missouri on the grounds that it was an affiliate of the Islamic African Relief Agency, a Sudanese group accused of funneling money to al-Qaida …

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by Alexis Unkovic

US Marine Lance Cpl. Robert B. Pennington pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of murder, kidnapping, housebreaking, larceny and conspiracy for his role in the death of Iraqi civilian Hashim Ibrahim Awad in Hamdania in April 2006. A military judge at Camp Pendleton will sentence Pennington during …

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by Holly Manges Jones

A federal judge in Raleigh, North Carolina Tuesday sentenced David Passaro to eight years and four months in prison as well as three years of supervised release on charges related to his abuse of a detainee in Afghanistan. Passaro was convicted last year on three misdemeanor …

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by Lisl Brunner

A bill to end forced marriages was proposed in the parliament of Pakistan by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q party (Quaid) Tuesday. The Prevention of Anti-women Practices Bill 2006 would also outlaw a tribal custom in which a woman is compelled to marry into a rival tribe or family to settle a dispute. Each …

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by Lisl Brunner

Former CIA executive director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo and defense contractor Brent Wilkes were indicted by a grand jury Tuesday on charges connected with the case of former Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham. The FBI launched an investigation of the two men in May, after Cunningham pleaded guilty to taking $2.4 …

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by Lisl Brunner

The American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates adopted new policies Monday reforming the Model Code of Judicial Conduct to limit certain political activities of judges. The adopted rules include a prohibition on campaign promises regarding cases that a judge may later hear and guidelines for receiving gifts. The new guideines also changed …

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by Brett Murphy

The South Dakota House State Affairs committee has approved a new bill that would criminalize abortions in the state, but grant exceptions for rape, aggravated incest and to prevent the death of the mother. According to the bill, "the state has a right and duty to protect the life of the unborn child, …

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by Katerina Ossenova

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has urged Nepal to adopt an amendment in its interim constitution creating a fully independent judiciary. In a letter to Subhash Nemwang, the speaker of the Parliament, ICJ General Secretary Nicholas Howen recommended amending the interim constitution to clearly state that the judiciary is to be …

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by Katerina Ossenova

A British judge issued a ruling Tuesday in the case of seven British soldiers facing court-martial for charges relating to the abuse of Iraqi detainees. Justice Stuart McKinnon ordered the ruling to remain private, however, until it is read to a military board of officers acting as a jury. Since the courts-martial against the …

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by Brett Murphy

Draft legislation granting the District of Columbia a vote in the US House of Representatives is most likely unconstitutional, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) made public Monday. Article I, Section 2, Clause 1 of the US Constitution says: "The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members …

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by Katerina Ossenova

A top legal advisor to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) reported Tuesday that a German law protecting Volkswagen, Europe's largest carmaker, from takeovers is protectionist and should be repealed. Advocate General Damaso Ruiz-Jarabo said a law that prevents any shareholder from exercising more than 20 percent of the carmaker's voting rights, …

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by Brett Murphy

The Mexican Senate will vote Wednesday on a bill to reduce the punishment for possessing "personal use" amounts of certain drugs for first-time offenders, Mexican lawmakers announced Monday. The bill imposes only a fine on first-time offenders found in possession of 1 gram or less of drugs like marijuana. According to Mexican Senator and Senate Judiciary president …

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by Natalie Hrubos

Republic of Guinea President Lansana Conte declared martial law Monday after several days of violence left at least 27 dead. The rioting began Saturday after Conte appointed a close ally from the Guinea cabinet, Eugene Camara, as prime minister. Opposition leaders said the appointment violated an agreement struck …

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by Holly Manges Jones

Russian military prosecutors said Monday that they plan to launch a probe into allegations that young men serving their mandatory military conscription period are being forced into prostitution by fellow soldiers. The Union of Soldiers' Mothers Committees, a soldiers' rights group, brought the allegations to light by telling the story of an anonymous soldier from …

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by Natalie Hrubos

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak testified Monday that former vice-presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby did not leak to him the identity of former undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame. Both Novak and Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward testified that it was former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage who had told …

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by Holly Manges Jones

The Taipei High Prosecutors Office in Taiwan indicted Nationalist Party (KMT) leader Ma Ying-jeou Tuesday on corruption charges. The allegations against Ma, who had been considered a top contender in the 2008 presidential elections, involve $333,000 taken from a city expense fund during his term …

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by Holly Manges Jones

The Brussels Court of First Instance ruled Tuesday that Google violated copyright law by linking to Belgian newspapers without receiving permission to do so. The Internet company was ordered to pay $32,500 (25,000 euros) per day until all of the content is removed, retroactive to 139 days ago when Google was first asked to …

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by Holly Manges Jones

North Korea agreed Tuesday that it would end its nuclear weapons program in exchange for aid as part of a multi-stage initiative with partners in the so-called Six-Party Talks [US State Dept. briefing; Wikipedia backgrounder]. In the initial stage, North Korea promised to shut down and seal its main nuclear reactor and in exchange for 50,000 …

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