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Legal news from Wednesday, February 21, 2007
by Leslie Schulman

The South Dakota Senate State Affairs committee rejected a bill in an 8-1 vote on Wednesday that would have criminalized most abortions in the state with exceptions for rape, incest and life-threatening conditions to the mother. According to the bill, the state has a right and duty to protect the life of the …

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by Leslie Schulman

Rhode Island will recognize same-sex marriages of state employees performed in Massachusetts, according to Attorney General Patrick Lynch in a letter sent to the Commissioner of the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education. The letter said same-sex employee partners married in Massachusetts would be granted the …

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by Jaime Jansen

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in Microsoft Corp. v. AT&T Corp., 05-1056, where the court must decide whether Microsoft should be held liable for patent infringement in Windows software sold abroad. AT&T claimed that Microsoft allows foreign computer manufacturers …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico's newest ambassador to the US, says his country is launching an intensive lobbying effort to secure an immigration reform agreement between the two nations. The plan includes negotiations between Mexican consulates and US state and federal lawmakers, business chambers and civic organizations concerned with immigration reform. Mexico would like the US …

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by Katerina Ossenova

A Spanish judge requested permission from Mexico Wednesday to extradite former Argentine naval officer Ricardo Miguel Cavallo back to Argentina. Cavallo was extradited from Mexico to Spain and has been in Spanish custody since 2003. In January 2006, he was charged with genocide, organized terrorism and crimes against humanity for crimes committed during Argentina's "dirty …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The UK High Court on Wednesday denied an application for judicial review stemming from a 12-year old Muslim girl's challenge to a public school policy that prevented her from wearing her full-face veil (niqab) at school. Mr. Justice Silber found the policy appropriate, on the grounds that the veil would dampen teacher …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A French judge on Wednesday signed a 191-page indictment against 17 former associates of former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet, charging them with abduction and torture in connection with the disappearance of four French nationals in Chile during Pinochet's rule from 1973 to 1990. The 17 are thought to be living in …

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by Katerina Ossenova

A Romanian parliamentary commission announced Wednesday that it had found no evidence that Romania cooperated with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in operating illegal secret prisons and extraordinary rendition flights in Europe, or that secret facilities ever existed in Romania. Norica Nicolai, head of Romania's senate commission, said the …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The European Commission (EC) on Wednesday levied a record-breaking antitrust fine against the four biggest elevator and escalator manufacturers in Europe after finding them guilty of restrictive business practices in violation of Article 81 of the EC Treaty. Otis, KONE, Schindler and ThyssenKrupp were fined €992 million for fixing prices related to …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Police imposed a three-month ban on political rallies and protests Wednesday in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare after a political rally held Sunday by opposition group Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Despite a court order instructing police not to interfere with the rally, police used tear-gas and water cannons to break up the …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Russian Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to overturn the 24-year sentence given to former Yukos security chief Alexei Pichugin for organizing a series of contract killings, including the 1998 murder of Vladimir Petukhov, the mayor of Nefteyugansk. Prosecutors appealed the sentence, arguing that Pichugin's crimes …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Lawmakers in the French Senate have buried a draft bill that would have criminalized any denial that the mass killings of Armenians in Turkey during World War I constituted genocide. The bill has been taken off the Senate agenda, and as presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for April through June, the new National …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Two human rights groups have called on Canada's Federal Court to review the legality of terrorism detainee transfer procedures under the Canada-Afghanistan Detainee Agreement. Amnesty International Canada and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association filed an application for judicial review Wednesday, alleging that the transfer of terrorist suspects from the custody of the Canadian Forces to …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales unveiled the First Freedom Project (FFP) Tuesday afternoon, a new Department of Justice initiative aimed at stricter enforcement of laws against religious discrimination and educating the public about their rights in this area. The DOJ will hold training seminars across the US in conjunction with the program, …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The UN Development Programme ordered an audit Wednesday of the human resources practices of the Extraordinary Chamber of the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the international tribunal established to try former Khmer Rouge officials, in response to reports of corruption. The Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), which helped train ECCC judges, publicized …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US District Court Chief Judge Vaughn Walker issued an order Tuesday imposing a limited stay on discovery in a class action lawsuit challenging the legality of the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program, despite the government's request to stay discovery pending the outcome of an appeal to the US …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The US Supreme Court handed down decisions in two cases Wednesday, including Wallace v. Kato, where the Court held that the two-year statute of limitations for a false arrest action under under 42 USC 1983 begins accruing at the time of arrest. Andre Wallace was arrested without …

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by Brett Murphy

The number of extra-judicial killings in the Philippines is critically high, according to UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Philip Alston, who on Wednesday reported on his 10-day investigation into the surge of political murders in the Philippines. Alston said that many of the killings were committed by …

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by Brett Murphy

Seven Saudis formerly detained at Guantanamo Bay arrived in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday after US authorities granted their release earlier this week. The Saudi Press Agency reported their return, and noted that Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz "expressed his appreciation at the level of co-operation with the US authorities, hoping that this step will pave …

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by Brett Murphy

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked Iraq's leadership to postpone a decision on future control of the city of Kirkuk on Tuesday, citing concerns for the growth of a Kurdish insurgency in Turkey. The Iraqi constitution, however, mandates that a referendum on the future of the city must …

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by Brett Murphy

US Army Sgt. Paul E. Cortez pleaded guilty on Tuesday to the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the murder of her family in the Mahmudiya (also "Mahmoudiya") area last March. Cortez reached a plea agreement with prosecutors last month, removing the death penalty as a possible sentence. As a part …

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