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Legal news from Thursday, February 22, 2007
by Joshua Pantesco

A US federal judge Thursday sentenced former South Korean lobbyist Tongsun Park to five years in prison for his conviction on charges of money laundering, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and acting as an unregistered agent of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. Prosecutors accused Park of receiving about $2 million from Hussein …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Authorities in Colombia Thursday arrested a former intelligence chief on charges of murder and conspiracy for allegedly contracting with illegal paramilitary groups to assassinate political opponents, including human rights activists and union leaders. Jorge Noguera ran the Department of Administrative Security until he resigned [BBC …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Indonesia has convicted and jailed at least 18 people for advocating a sovereign government for the province of Papua, according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released Wednesday. The report states:Although political space for dissent in Indonesia has increased enormously since the fall of Soeharto, broadly worded laws limiting freedom of expression remain …

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by Robert DeVries

Alleged terrorist Jose Padilla is unfit to stand trial, forensic neuropsychiatrist Dr. Angela Hegarty testified at a court ordered competency hearing Thursday. Hegarty testified that she determined from 22 hours of interviews and tests with him that Padilla is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from his years in detention and is unable to assist …

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by Leslie Schulman

Egyptian blogger Abdel Kareem Nabil was sentenced to four years in prison Thursday on charges of insulting Islam and causing sectarian strife in his blog. Nabil, a 22-year-old former law student, had posted on the internet statements critical of Islamic authorities and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, calling him a dictator. …

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by Leslie Schulman

Jailed Chinese newspaper ex-editor Yu Huafeng has had his eight-year sentence reduced by one year, according to Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao Daily News on Thursday. Huafeng and his colleague Li Minying [Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC) profile] were both convicted in 2004 [Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) press release] for …

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by Leslie Schulman

Speaking publicly for the first time, Muslim cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr said Thursday that he was tortured by Egyptian officials during his four-year detention in Egypt following an alleged 2003 kidnapping and extraordinary rendition from Milan. Nasr, who has been at the heart of Italian judicial proceedings [JURIST …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Enron shareholder derivative lawsuit will be tried in April as previously scheduled, a federal judge ruled Wednesday. US District Judge Melinda Harmon denied a motion filed by defendants Merrill Lynch and Co. Inc. and Credit Suisse Group to delay the trial pending the outcome of an appeal to the US …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Philippines will investigate and eventually prosecute those responsible for extra-judicial killings, President Gloria Arroyo said Wednesday, one day after a visiting UN official released a report revealing a high number of such killings. On Tuesday, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Philip Alston reported …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Former Sierra Leone Defense Minister Sam Hinga Norman died of heart failure Thursday, several weeks before a verdict was due in his war crimes trial before the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), the Court announced Thursday. Norman, who passed away in a military hospital in Dakar, Senegal after being transferred there …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A spokesperson for the US Army Criminal Investigation Command said Wednesday that it had found "insufficient evidence" to support allegations by former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan that he was tortured by US personnel following his arrest in 2003 after he reportedly refused to reveal certain information. Ramadan is currently …

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by Joe Shaulis

Canada's highest-ranking judges have criticized the Conservative government's changes to the regional panels that screen candidates for federal judgeships as a threat to judicial independence. The Canadian Judicial Council (CJC), made up of the chief justices and associate chief justices of Canada's superior courts, issued a statement Tuesday saying that "judges can continue to …

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by Joe Shaulis

The new governor of Maryland testified before legislators Wednesday that the state's death penalty should be abolished because it is "inherently unjust," ineffective as a deterrent and a drain on resources. Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), who took office last month, appeared before two committees of the General Assembly that …

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by James M Yoch Jr

Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Wednesday asserted that his government will not issue a pardon to Australian Guantanamo detainee David Hicks if he is convicted by a US military commission. Howard, appearing on ABC's Lateline program, addressed remarks by opposition Labour Party leader Kevin Rudd, who claims that Hicks …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Tech giants Cisco Systems and Apple, Inc. have settled their trademark dispute over the use of the name "iPhone", the companies announced Wednesday. Cisco filed a lawsuit against Apple in mid-January, and under the settlement agreement both companies will share the "iPhone" name and explore opportunities for greater cooperation, possibly including development of …

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by James M Yoch Jr

The Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), Mexico's primary left-wing political party, is planning to file a complaint with federal prosecutors against former Mexican President Vicente Fox for interfering in the country's 2006 presidential election on behalf of current Mexican President Felipe Calderon, PRD leader Javier Gonzalez said Wednesday. …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

A 50-year-old Iraqi woman has accused Iraqi forces of rape, an Iraqi official said Thursday, the second such accusation in a week. The attack on the Sunni woman and her two daughters allegedly occurred less than two weeks ago in the city of Tal Afar by four Iraqi soldiers, including one officer. An Iraqi official told the AP that …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

A federal judge declared Wednesday that an anti-Castro militant who allegedly was behind the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner will stay in jail pending trial on charges of lying on a naturalization application. Luis Posada Carriles, 78, a former CIA operative trained by the US for the failed anti-Castro Bay …

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by Joe Shaulis

Lawmakers in Texas advanced a bill Wednesday to rescind the governor's executive order requiring that school-age girls receive a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. The House of Representatives' Public Health Committee voted 6-3 in favor of the bill, which is sponsored by more than 90 of the 150 House members. The bill …

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