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Legal news from Wednesday, May 2, 2007
by Mike Rosen-Molina

The US Senate Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena to US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Wednesday, demanding that he turn over any e-mails he received from White House political adviser Karl Rove relating to the US Attorney firing scandal. A White House spokesman accused the Committee of …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The Oregon Senate passed a bill Wednesday allowing same-sex couples to enter into contractual domestic partnerships with the same state benefits as married couples. The measure covers state benefits including inheritance, child custody, and hospital visitation rights, but does not affect federal benefits for married couples. The bill passed the state House …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

An Egyptian court Wednesday sentenced a television reporter with Al Jazeera to six months in prison for producing a film that depicts police torture. Howayda Taha was tried in absentia for her role in creating a film that Egyptian authorities say includes phony shots of Egyptian police torturing suspects. Al Jazeera responded that the footage …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

China has officially banned the sale of human organs effective Wednesday following an April 6 decision by the State Council, according to reports by Chinese state media. Any doctors caught trafficking in organs will have their licenses revoked, any hospitals caught will be suspended from performing organ transplants for at least three years, and any …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The Canadian Senate Wednesday passed a US-style bill to have federal elections on fixed dates every four years. An Act to Amend the Canada Elections Act [Bill C-16 text and materials] requires that an election be held on the third Monday of October four years after the last federal election, although the chief electoral …

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by Bernard Hibbitts

Several Pakistani protesters and an opposition lawmaker were injured and dozens of people were arrested Wednesday after members of a religious party tried to break through a police line to bring water to hundreds of lawyers and opposition activists gathered in front of the Supreme Court building in Islamabad to show their support for suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Wednesday said he would push for constitutional amendments to change Turkey's system for electing its president. Under the proposed amendments, the president would be elected by a direct vote rather than chosen by parliament. The announcement is an attempt to calm political tensions after the Turkish Constitutional Court voided …

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by Brett Murphy

Two French judges accompanied by police officers on Wednesday attempted to search France's presidential palace as part of an investigation into the 1995 death of French judge Bernard Borrel in Djibouti. The search was targeted at the African affairs department, however, the judges were not granted access to the building. A presidential spokesperson said that …

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by Jeannie Shawl

Human rights activist Umida Niyazova was sentenced to seven years in prison after an Uzbek court convicted her Tuesday of illegal border crossing, smuggling, and distributing Islamic extremist propaganda. Niyazova worked for Human Rights Watch and was arrested earlier this year after returning to Uzbekistan from Kyrgyzstan on charges of crossing the border illegally and smuggling materials …

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by Brett Murphy

The Iraqi Parliament on Wednesday received a draft oil law that would regulate how profits from the country's oil wells will be shared by the different ethnic groups in the country. President Bush has said he believes that the agreement will help to end violence in Iraq, and has urged Shi'ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The US Supreme Court refused Tuesday to prevent the US military from transferring Guantanamo Bay detainee Abu Abdul Rauf Zalita to his home country of Libya, rejecting Zalita's arguments that he faced a "grave risk of arbitrary detention, torture, persecution and extrajudicial assassination" after being returned to Libya. In a one-sentence …

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by Bernard Hibbitts

The number of domestic wiretap applications granted by US state judges rose 20 percent in 2006 to 1,378, while federal judges granted only 461 applications, a drop of 26 percent, according to a new report filed by the Administrative Office of the US Courts. The figures released Monday in the 2006 Wiretap Report …

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by Brett Murphy

The US Senate Intelligence Committee questioned top intelligence officials, including National Intelligence Director John M. "Mike" McConnell and National Security Agency Director Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, Tuesday at a hearing on the Bush administration's proposed amendments to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Committee members appeared skeptical about …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants [press release; ICC Q&A] for two top suspects accused of committing war crimes in the Darfur region of Sudan, according to an announcement from the court Wednesday. Ahmad Muhammad Harun, former Sudanese interior minister and current humanitarian affairs minister, faces 20 counts of crimes against humanity, …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

A secret court approved a record number of US government requests to search or eavesdrop on suspected terrorists or other persons for "foreign intelligence" purposes in 2006, endorsing all but one warrant, according to statistics made public by the US Department of Justice Tuesday. According to a three-page letter to House leaders filed under the annual …

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