Legal news from Thursday, March 1, 2007
21:03 EDT

[JURIST] The Washington State Senate [official website] passed a domestic partnership bill (SB 5336) [PDF text; legislative history] 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 [read more]

20:03 EDT

[JURIST] The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) [official website] officially launched [press release; fact sheet and FAQs, PDFs] Thursday, taking over and expanding the responsibilities of the former European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) [official backgrounder]. The new independent agency [JURIST report] will initially study issues [read more]

19:03 EDT

[JURIST] Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe [BBC profile; official website, in Japanese] 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 [official website] last month that a proposed US resolution urging Japan to [read more]

19:03 EDT

[JURIST] A Florida commission convened to investigate the botched December execution [JURIST report] of Angel Diaz [AI profile] 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 [Wikipedia backgrounders], to sedate, paralyze [read more]

17:03 EDT

[JURIST] The US Department of Defense [official website] announced [press release] 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 [JURIST news archive] so far this year to twelve. Three [read more]

16:03 EDT

[JURIST] A German probe into the US detention of Murat Kurnaz [AI case sheet; JURIST news archive], a Turkish citizen born in Germany who was held at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] for nearly five years, is being delayed because official documents are being withheld by authorities in the state [read more]

15:03 EDT

[JURIST] 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) [official website, in Chinese] scheduled for next week, the China Daily reported Thursday. The system, called "re-education through labor," or "laojiao" [HRW [read more]

15:03 EDT

[JURIST] The US military on Thursday formally referred the charges against David Hicks [charge sheet, PDF; JURIST report] to a military commission. Under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and the Manual for Military Commissions (MMC) [DOD materials; JURIST report], Hicks, an Australian citizen, will face arraignment within 30 days [read more]

14:03 EDT

[JURIST] Former US Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) [Sourcewatch profile] reported to prison Thursday morning to begin serving his 30-month sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution [BOP backgrounder], a minimum-security prison in Morgantown, West Virginia. The district judge who presided over Ney's sentencing hearing [JURIST report] rejected Ney's claim that his [read more]

14:03 EDT

[JURIST] A 2000 decision by the Canadian Parliament [official website] to deny retroactive survivor pension benefits to persons in same-sex relationships was unconstitutional discrimination under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [text], the Supreme Court of Canada [official website] held in a ruling [text] Thursday. Parliament passed legislation in [read more]

13:03 EDT

[JURIST] Former Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] pleaded not guilty Thursday before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] to 37 counts of war crimes, including murder, persecution, and rape. Haradinaj, whose trial is scheduled to begin Monday [ICTY press release], [read more]

12:03 EDT

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [official profile] Wednesday criticized a US federal appeals court ruling [PDF text; JURIST report] supporting Congressional legislation denying "enemy combatants" the right to challenge their detentions in federal court. In a press conference [recorded video; summary] Wednesday, Arbour expressed concern at [read more]

09:03 EDT

[JURIST] US Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) [official website] and 78 other House of Representatives members introduced a bill [HR 1252 summary] 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 [read more]

08:03 EDT

[JURIST] 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 [HB 1804 text, DOC] seeks to prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining state identification, and would require all state [read more]

08:03 EDT

[JURIST] Attorneys for US Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) [official website] on Wednesday requested the return of the materials seized from the congressman's office [JURIST report] during an 18-hour raid in May 2006 by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] as part of an investigation into bribery allegations. Jefferson's [read more]

07:03 EDT

[JURIST] An Egyptian judge on Wednesday upheld a prosecutor's decision to freeze the assets of 29 financiers for the Muslim Brotherhood [party website; JURIST news archive]. The Brotherhood is the largest Islamic group in Egypt and, while it is considered to be illegal, the group currently holds 88 seats in [read more]

07:03 EDT

[JURIST] The Federal Election Commission (FEC) announced a settlement [press release] Wednesday in the case against the Progress for America Voter Fund (PFA-VF) [advocacy website] for violating campaign finance laws during the 2004 election cycle. The conciliation agreement [PDF text] indicates that PFA-VF will pay a $750,000 fine, the third [read more]

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