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Legal news from Friday, February 23, 2007
by Gabriel Haboubi

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) President Jakob Kellenberger told reporters Friday that all sides of the conflict in the Sudan are violating international humanitarian law. The statement came after Kellenberger completed a 5-day trip to the country that included time in the Darfur region. While holding the Sudanese …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

United Nations human rights experts Friday condemned a proposed Nigerian law banning gay marriage and tightening laws criminalizing homosexuality in the country. While engaging in homosexual acts in Nigeria is already punishable by death by stoning, the UN experts said the new law, which authorizes a maximum five-year sentence for any person found to be …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced a plan to release some prisoners convicted of nonviolent crime [press conference video/transcript] to alleviate the burden on California’s overcrowded prison system. The move comes in response to various federal actions, including one as recently as last week by US District Judge Thelton E. Henderson of …

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by JURIST Staff

A South African court Friday dismissed charges against eight South African mercenaries suspected of plotting a coup against the president of Equatorial Guinea. The Pretoria judge found that the state had not proven its case against the men. Lawyers for the defendants argued that South African officials were behind the failed plot, but the …

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by Michael Sung

Members of Guinea's National Assembly voted unanimously Friday to reject the request of Guinean President Lansana Conte for an extension of martial law in the Republic of Guinea [government website, in French; US State Dept. backgrounder]. Conte declared martial law in the country last week, and the measure is set to expire at midnight Friday. …

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by JURIST Staff

Hilmi Aydogdu, leader of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, was charged by Turkish authorities Friday with inciting hatred after stating that any Turkish attack on Kirkuk, a city in northern Iraq with a large Kurdish population, would be comparable to an attack on all Kurds. Aydogdu could face up to three years …

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by JURIST Staff

State Farm Insurance filed papers on Thursday to have US District Court Judge L.T. Senter, Jr. recused from certifying a class action lawsuit against the company over Hurricane Katrina damages. The insurer questioned Senter's impartiality as fellow judge John Roper and Terri Brown, a federal court clerk, could be plaintiffs in the …

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by JURIST Staff

Tens of thousands of protesters rallied in the Afghan capital of Kabul Friday to support an amnesty bill that would shield alleged war criminals who participated in the anti-Soviet resistance during the 1980s and the 1992-1996 civil war from prosecution. The lower house of the Afghan parliament approved the measure [JURIST …

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by JURIST Staff

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused the Saudi government of violating international law when it beheaded four Sri Lankan robbers and placed their bodies on public display in the country's capital, Riyadh, on Monday. According to HRW, the four migrants, who were badly beaten, had been imprisoned for years without access to …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Forty-six of 49 countries participating in the the two-day Oslo Conference on Cluster Munitions on Friday agreed to an action plan to develop a new international treaty to ban the use of cluster munitions by 2008. Hosted by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the 46 nations vowed in the Oslo Declaration [PDF …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday that the government's use of security certificates to indefinitely detain and deport foreigners with suspected ties to terrorism violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Three Arab Muslim men - Adil Charkaoui, Hassan Almrei and Mohamed Harkat - argued …

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by Michael Sung

The UK High Court has rejected the legal bid of Algerian-born pilot Lotfi Raissi for compensation for his wrongful detention. Raissi was held under a US extradition warrant after being indicted by a federal grand jury in Arizona shortly following the September 11 attacks. US prosecutors alleged Raissi …

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by Michael Sung

A federal jury in California awarded Alcatel-Lucent $1.52 billion dollars in damages Thursday for violations of two of Alcatel-Lucent's digital music patents committed by Microsoft. The patents govern technology that converts audio input into MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3, more commonly known as MP3, which Microsoft has incorporated into …

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by Jeannie Shawl

US Army Sgt. Paul E. Cortez received a 100-year prison sentence Thursday for his role in 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 pleaded guilty earlier this week to felony murder, rape and conspiracy to rape. He …

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by Joe Shaulis

A group that advocates the therapeutic use of marijuana is suing the US Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services for their statements that the drug has no medical value. According to a complaint filed Wednesday in US District Court in San Francisco, Americans for Safe Access …

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