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Legal news from Thursday, April 19, 2007
by Gabriel Haboubi

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Thursday that a Korean executive at Samsung Electronics has pleaded guilty to a large conspiracy that fixed the price of Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM), affecting the cost of personal computers worldwide. Il Ung Kim, former VP of Marketing for Samsung's Memory Division, will pay a …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday sought the dismissal of all pending Guantanamo Bay detainee habeas corpus cases in the US District Court for the District of Columbia. The motion to dismiss was filed in response to the US Supreme Court denying petitions for certiorari earlier …

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by Robert DeVries

The state of Washington emerged as another opponent to the REAL ID act Thursday, with Governor Chris Gregoire signing state legislation rejecting the controversial federal law. Washington is now the fifth state to pass such a measure, joining Maine, Arkansas, Idaho, and Montana. Montana's Governor Brian Schweitzer just signed anti-REAL ID legislation …

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by Leslie Schulman

Two former administrators at a Texas juvenile prison pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of improper sexual conduct with six students. Former West Texas State School principal John Paul Hernandez and former assistant superintendent Ray E. Brookins, who were arrested last week, each resigned in 2005 after an investigation by the Texas Rangers …

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by Leslie Schulman

Cuban anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles posted bond and was released from a New Mexico jail on Thursday after ongoing debate about his release. Carriles, 79, a former CIA operative trained by the US for the failed anti-Castro Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, was arrested in 2005 for …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Thursday rejected a call for his resignation made by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the US Attorney firing scandal. Gonzales faced hours of tough questioning from senators during the hearing, but maintained that "nothing improper occurred." In his prepared remarks [text; written statement, …

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by Leslie Schulman

US Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and other leading members of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees on Wednesday introduced the Patent Reform Act of 2007 [H.R. 1908, bill overview], which would overhaul current US patent laws in three major ways. First, it would change the current system of granting patent rights to the first inventor …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A spokesperson for New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch (D) said Thursday that the governor would sign a same-sex civil union bill if it is passed by the New Hampshire Senate next Thursday. HB 905, passed by the state House of Representatives earlier this month, would authorize same-sex couples to enter into civil unions entailing …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The European Union Thursday approved a framework decision aimed at criminalizing denial of the Holocaust and other genocides following six years of intense debate. The end product was described as a carefully-balanced compromise by EU diplomats, which allows EU countries to opt out of enforcing the law if national laws do not prohibit similar …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The Bangladesh High Court Thursday received a petition from a supporter of former Bangladesh prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia Thursday to halt Khaleda's exile, arguing that the forced expulsion was a violation of her human rights. Government sources said Khaleda had agreed to be exiled from Bangladesh in exchange for leniency for her …

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by Joshua Pantesco

An incarcerated Chinese activist filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against Yahoo! Inc., alleging that the Internet giant aided and abetted human rights violations committed by the Chinese government by providing Chinese officials with information, including e-mail records and user ID numbers, that helped them to identify pro-democracy activists. Imprisoned Internet activist Wang Xiaoning brought the …

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by Katerina Ossenova

The Romanian Parliament voted Thursday to suspend Romanian President Traian Basescu for allegedly violating the constitution. Members of parliament voted 322-108 in favor of the suspension. According to the constitution, Romania must hold a national referendum on Basescu's impeachment within 30 days. The parliamentary vote was brought by the leftist …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The Italian Constitutional Court ruled Thursday that the Italian government can seek to quash the indictments of 33 American and Italian agents who allegedly kidnapped Egyptian cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr in 2003. State lawyers will argue against the indictments on the grounds that investigators considered secret documents in collecting …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The trial of Bernard Ntuyahaga, a former Rwandan army major accused of murdering 10 Belgian peacekeepers and the Rwandan prime minister they were charged with protecting in 1994, began in Brussels Thursday. Ntuyahaga faces 16 counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder stemming from the murders, which took place during the first weeks of the …

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by Katerina Ossenova

The Constitution Drafting Council in Thailand Wednesday presented the new draft constitution, which will be put to a referendum later this month. The 2007 draft, which would replace the 1997 constitution, calls for national elections to take place by the end of 2007. The 35-member drafting committee said the new constitution will prevent graft and …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Wednesday rejected a demand by Palestinian militants to free hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. In a speech before Israel's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Olmert said that the list of Palestinian …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Russian State Duma, the lower house of parliament, unanimously approved a bill on Wednesday that would hike the penalty for vandalizing property during political or ideological protests to a maximum of three years in prison. The bill was initially proposed in the wake of a December protest against President Vladimir Putin's rights record by …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Judge Arthur Hunter of the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Wednesday suspended the prosecutions of 42 New Orleans indigent criminal defendants who had not been provided adequate legal counsel and ordered 16 of them released without bail. Hunter first ordered suspension of the prosecutions in March, but then delayed implementation of his …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Most witnesses who have been called to testify in the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor will remain anonymous, and some may be forced to relocate to avoid retaliation by Taylor's supporters in Liberia, prosecutor Steven Rapp told AP on Wednesday. Several witnesses in particular are at risk because they were insiders during …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Rwanda petitioned the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Wednesday to resolve a dispute with France over an international arrest warrant issued by France for three Rwandan officials last November, and a request forwarded to the UN Secretary-General that Rwandan President Paul Kagame stand trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Rwanda …

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