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Legal news from Tuesday, April 17, 2007
by Alexis Unkovic

A delegation of European Parliament members told two subcommittees of the US House of Representatives Tuesday that the use of extraordinary renditions by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is illegal. At the hearing conducted by the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight [official …

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by Alexis Unkovic

US Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) announced Tuesday that the Senate Appropriations Committee he chairs has agreed to adopt new standards governing so-called earmarks inserted by legislators into bills to fund special spending projects. The proposed ethics and earmark reform legislation will define the term "earmark" and will require that …

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by Lisl Brunner

Ugandan police fired on a Kampala press briefing held by political activists and opposition leaders on Tuesday, five days after violent protests caused the deaths of three people. Leaders of the Forum for Democratic Change, the Democratic Party, the Conservative Party and the Justice Forum held the briefing to …

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by Lisl Brunner

The Polish National Remembrance Institute ruled Tuesday that former Polish President Wojciech Jaruzelski and eight former officials can be charged with "Communist crimes" for imposing martial law in Poland in 1981. Jaruzelski, now 83, already faces charges of organizing crimes of a military nature and depriving …

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by Lisl Brunner

Charges have been dropped against a US Marine in exchange for his testimony in hearings regarding the November 2005 killing of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha, the Marine Corps announced Tuesday. Sgt. Sanick Dela Cruz, originally charged with unpremeditated murder and making a false official statement, will receive immunity for testifying against seven other …

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by Brett Murphy

Egypt police have arrested an Egyptian engineer on charges of spying on an atomic research program for Israel, AP reported Tuesday. According to Egyptian High State Security Prosecutor Hisham Badawi, Muhammad Sayed Saber allegedly gave files from his work at the Egyptian Atomic Energy Agency to the Israel Secret Intelligence Service (Mossad) …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler said Tuesday that Maryland will not challenge a decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit holding that the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) preempts the Maryland Fair Share Health Care Fund Act. The act was part of a …

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by Brett Murphy

The US House Judiciary Committee will consider a resolution granting immunity to Monica M. Goodling, former special counsel to the US Attorney General, in exchange for her testimony concerning last year's firing of eight US Attorneys, according to a prepared statement read by committee chairman Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) …

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by Katerina Ossenova

UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Nicholas Michel promised Tuesday that a tribunal to try suspects in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri would be established, despite disagreement among Lebanese leaders. In February, the UN and Lebanon reached an agreement to establish an international tribunal, but its implementation has …

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by Katerina Ossenova

The Constitutional Court of Ukraine held hearings Tuesday on a controversial April 2 decree by Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko ordering the dissolution of parliament and new elections on May 27. By a vote of 11 to 7, the court decided to study and review the decree until April 27 or …

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by Brett Murphy

The trial of US Army Spc. Mario Lozano for the murder of Italian intelligence agent Nicola Calipari and attempted murders of agent Andrea Carpani and Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena began in Italy Tuesday. The court immediately adjourned proceedings for technical reasons until May 14. Lozano is being tried …

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by Natalie Hrubos

A panel of US copyright judges Monday denied a request by a group of private and public webcasters to reconsider a royalty hike for playing digital music that broadcasters say could ruin the webcasting industry. The Copyright Royalty Board last month decided to change the system by which Internet broadcasters must …

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by Natalie Hrubos

The father of a Guantanamo Bay detainee accused CIA officials of torturing his son - Pakistani terror suspect Majid Khan - after arresting him in Pakistan in March 2003, according to an affidavit released Monday. Khan was one of 14 "high value" prisoners previously held at a CIA secret prison …

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by Natalie Hrubos

A federal judge Monday refused a request to close portions of the upcoming espionage trial of two former American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbyists because doing so would violate the defendants' right to an open trial. The lobbyists, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, were indicted last year under the 1917 Espionage Act [18 …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The US Supreme Court handed down decisions in three cases Tuesday, including Watters v. Wachovia Bank, where the Court held that the National Bank Act and regulations promulgated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency preempt state laws regulating mortgage lending by national banks and …

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by Holly Manges Jones

Arafat Rahman, the son of former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, was released Tuesday after being arrested the day before on corruption allegations, according to local media reports. The reason for Arafat's release was not apparent Tuesday, but negotiations between Zia and the military-backed government Monday ended in Zia agreeing to leave Bangladesh [JURIST …

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by Holly Manges Jones

The Nigerian electoral commission said Tuesday that Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar would be included on the ballots for this coming Saturday's presidential elections, after the Nigerian Supreme Court overturned his disqualification as a candidate. A spokesman for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not say how Abubakar's name would …

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by Holly Manges Jones

A federal judge began hearings Monday to decide whether John Hinckley, Jr. should be given more freedom outside the mental hospital where he was sent after being found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 1981 attempted assassination of US President Ronald Reagan. Hospital officials and Hinckley's family are arguing that restrictions currently in …

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