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Legal news from Thursday, March 1, 2007
by Gabriel Haboubi

The Washington State Senate passed a domestic partnership bill (SB 5336) Thursday which would establish a domestic partner registry, giving same-sex couples enhanced rights including inheritance, hospital visitation, and the power to authorize medical procedures. The bill, sponsored by openly gay Sen. Ed Murray (D) passed by a vote of 28-19, …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) officially launched Thursday, taking over and expanding the responsibilities of the former European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). The new independent agency will initially study issues of racial, gender, and religious tensions in the European Union …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday denied that the Japanese military forced Korean and Chinese women into prostitution during World War II, echoing sentiments by Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso last month that a proposed US resolution urging Japan to apologize for the alleged practice was based on bad information …

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by Robert DeVries

A Florida commission convened to investigate the botched December execution of Angel Diaz determined Thursday that more oversight is necessary to ensure inmates are properly sedated before execution. Currently Florida uses the chemicals sodium pentothal, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride, to sedate, paralyze and kill inmates. According to the testimony of an anesthesiologist, …

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by Leslie Schulman

The US Department of Defense announced Thursday that it has transferred five more Guantanamo Bay detainees [GlobalSecurity.org timeline] to their home countries for detention or release, bringing the total number of detainees released from Guantanamo so far this year to twelve. Three of the newly freed detainees have been transferred to Tajikistan, …

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by Leslie Schulman

A German probe into the US detention of Murat Kurnaz, a Turkish citizen born in Germany who was held at Guantanamo Bay for nearly five years, is being delayed because official documents are being withheld by authorities in the state of Bremen, the chairman of the government investigation committee said …

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by Leslie Schulman

The Chinese parliament will consider amending a law allowing the state to send criminal suspects to labor camps without a trial during the National People's Congress (NPC) scheduled for next week, the China Daily reported Thursday. The system, called "re-education through labor," or "laojiao", currently allows the police to send those suspected of …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The US military on Thursday formally referred the charges against David Hicks to a military commission. Under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and the Manual for Military Commissions (MMC), Hicks, an Australian citizen, will face arraignment within 30 days after he is served with the charges, and the military …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Former US Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) reported to prison Thursday morning to begin serving his 30-month sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution, a minimum-security prison in Morgantown, West Virginia. The district judge who presided over Ney's sentencing hearing rejected Ney's claim that his alcohol dependency clouded his judgment, finding that it didn't fully …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A 2000 decision by the Canadian Parliament to deny retroactive survivor pension benefits to persons in same-sex relationships was unconstitutional discrimination under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Supreme Court of Canada held in a ruling Thursday. Parliament passed legislation in 2000 to recognize the legal rights of same-sex couples, but …

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by Leslie Schulman

Former Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj pleaded not guilty Thursday before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to 37 counts of war crimes, including murder, persecution, and rape. Haradinaj, whose trial is scheduled to begin Monday, was a senior commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army [FAS …

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by Jeannie Shawl

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour Wednesday criticized a US federal appeals court ruling supporting Congressional legislation denying "enemy combatants" the right to challenge their detentions in federal court. In a press conference Wednesday, Arbour expressed concern at "insufficient judicial supervision," saying:I hope we will see the American …

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by James M Yoch Jr

US Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) and 78 other House of Representatives members introduced a bill Wednesday that would crack down on gasoline price gouging by instituting harsh criminal and civil penalties on oil and gas corporations and on individuals. The bill would permit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate alleged price …

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by Joshua Pantesco

An Oklahoma State House of Representatives committee approved a strict immigration bill on Wednesday for a full vote in the Oklahoma House. The Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007 seeks to prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining state identification, and would require all state and local agencies to verify citizenship status of applicants before …

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by James M Yoch Jr

Attorneys for US Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) on Wednesday requested the return of the materials seized from the congressman's office during an 18-hour raid in May 2006 by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) as part of an investigation into bribery allegations. Jefferson's defense team has argued that the search violated constitutional separation …

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by Joshua Pantesco

An Egyptian judge on Wednesday upheld a prosecutor's decision to freeze the assets of 29 financiers for the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood is the largest Islamic group in Egypt and, while it is considered to be illegal, the group currently holds 88 seats in the Egyptian Parliament and is believed to have …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) announced a settlement Wednesday in the case against the Progress for America Voter Fund (PFA-VF) for violating campaign finance laws during the 2004 election cycle. The conciliation agreement indicates that PFA-VF will pay a $750,000 fine, the third largest fine in FEC history, and that PFA-VF agreed to …

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