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Legal news from Tuesday, February 27, 2007
by Lisl Brunner

The US District Court for the District of Columbia ruled Tuesday that it has no jurisdiction to block the Iraqi death sentence for former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan. Ramadan was convicted by the Iraqi High Tribunal (IHT) in November and …

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by Ryan Olden

Authorities in the volatile Chechnya region of Russia commonly use electrical shocks, forced confessions, and other forms of torture, said Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg Tuesday after visiting a prison in Chechnya's regional capital, Grozny. Hammarberg accused acting Chechnyan President Ramzan Kadyrov [Wikipedia …

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by Alexis Unkovic

A senate panel in Nigeria Tuesday indicted Vice President Atiku Abubakar on corruption charges stemming from the alleged diversion of $145 million dollars of public money to private interests, as well as allegations of receiving more than $4.6 million dollars in bribes. Abubakar has left the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) [BBC …

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by Alexis Unkovic

Human Rights Watch (HRW) Tuesday called on US President George W. Bush in a public letter to account for so-called "ghost prisoners" whose whereabouts and identities have been kept secret since September when Bush acknowledged the existence of secret prisons operated by the the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) outside the …

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by Alexis Unkovic

Canada's House of Commons Tuesday voted against extending two provisions of the country's Anti-Terrorism Act that are set to expire March 1. The controversial provisions include a preventive arrest clause that allows police to arrest suspects without warrant for 72 hours and an investigative hearing clause that allows judges to force individuals …

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by Lisl Brunner

Charges have been brought against former interim president of Liberia Gyude Bryant for embezzling $1.3 million during his tenure from October 2003 until January 2006, according to a Liberia government statement Tuesday. The indictment was based on an audit conducted by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which monitored the …

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by Brett Murphy

US District Judge Robert G. Doumar of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia Tuesday denied a motion to dismiss filed by the government of Sudan in a lawsuit brought by families of sailors killed in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. Doumar said the Death …

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by Katerina Ossenova

US District Court for the District of Columbia Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson Tuesday sentenced former US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Dr. Lester M. Crawford to three years supervised probation and imposed about $90,000 in fines. Crawford had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Germany's Federal Constitutional Court ruled Tuesday that authorities violated the freedom of the press when they raided the offices of the monthly political magazine Cicero. In September 2005, investigators searched the offices of Cicero in an attempt to find the source of a leak of confidential papers from Germany's Federal Crime …

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by Brett Murphy

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in Winkelman v. Parma City School District, 05-983, where the court must decide whether parents of an autistic child can represent their child in federal court in suits arising under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act …

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by Brett Murphy

A grand jury in Mississippi Tuesday refused to indict Carolyn Bryant on charges of manslaughter for the 1955 kidnap and murder of Emmett Till due to a lack of sufficient evidence. Carolyn is the wife of Rob Bryant, who, along with his half brother J.W. Milam, was acquitted in 1955 by an all-white jury on all …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Australian Prime Minister John Howard was accused Tuesday of yielding to far-right groups who want a "white Australia" after the Australian Senate passed the Australian Citizenship Bill of 2006 on Monday. Seen as the biggest revision of immigration laws in nearly 60 years, the Citizenship Bill will make it harder to become an Australian …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Nigerian officials announced Tuesday the creation of an election tribunal to preside over disputes and complaints arising from the nation's general elections to be held in April 2007. As Idris Kutigi, chief justice of the Nigerian Supreme Court swore in judges to serve on the tribunal, he warned them against taking bribes from politicians to …

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by Jeannie Shawl

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court asked a panel of ICC judges Tuesday to issue summonses for two top suspects accused of committing war crimes in the Darfur region of Sudan. The call was the first action taken against individuals in the ICC's ongoing investigation of the Darfur situation. …

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by Natalie Hrubos

The Supreme Court of Japan ruled Tuesday that schools can order teachers to play the country's national anthem. In 1999, a Japanese music teacher refused to play the anthem at a school ceremony. She filed a lawsuit after the school tried to force her to play the anthem, arguing that protections …

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by Natalie Hrubos

Malawi Vice President Cassim Chilumpha pleaded not guilty to treason and conspiring to murder the president as his trial on the charges began Monday. In May 2006, Chilumpha was placed under house arrest three weeks after police arrested him in connection with an alleged plot to assassinate Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika [official …

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by Holly Manges Jones

The Nepalese government has created a panel to assemble a list of assets held by King Gyanendra and seize property he obtained after ascending to the throne, a cabinet spokesman said Monday. Dilendra Prasad Badu said the three-member panel is tasked with detailing the king's assets and recommending a plan to nationalize the …

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by Holly Manges Jones

A California state appeals court ruled Monday that the state's stem cell research program "suffers from no constitutional or other legal infirmity," leading the way for approximately $3 billion in grant money to be awarded to researchers. The Court of Appeal of the State of California First District upheld last year's lower court decision …

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by Holly Manges Jones

A federal judge Monday refused to apply a 1851 maritime law that would have limited the possible damages for victims of the 2003 Staten Island ferry crash to $14.4 million. The city of New York argued that the law, which was written to encourage investments in shipbuilding, should be applied to limit the ship …

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