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Legal news from Tuesday, May 15, 2007
by Melissa Bancroft

The US DC Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Tuesday in a case brought by Guantanamo Bay detainees challenging their designation as 'enemy combatants.' Last year, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which barred Guantanamo prisoners from challenging their indefinite detention but did allow them to appeal their "enemy combatants" …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Germany's Federal Constitutional Court Tuesday upheld a 2004 statute limiting lawyers fees unless payment is negotiated beforehand. The court ruled that because the lawyers are able to negotiate higher rates with clients, a statutory cap for unnegotiated fees is permissible and justifiable as a way …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

A military judge Tuesday postponed to August 20 the court-martial of the only officer charged with abuse in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. Lt. Col. Steven Lee Jordan, who at the time of the abuses was the second highest intelligence officer at the prison, argued at a Tuesday pre-trial …

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by Michael Sung

Vladimir Vukcevic, war crimes prosecutor of Serbia, told reporters Tuesday that the search for former Bosnian Serb military chief and UN-indicted war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic "has not stopped for even a moment" and hinted at progress that will "soon be able to seen." Vukcevic's statement follows statements by …

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by Michael Sung

Prominent Iranian-American scholar Dr. Haleh Esfandiari is being held and investigated by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and National Security for "security" crimes, a spokesperson for Iran's judiciary said Tuesday. The spokesman did not provide details, but told reporters that "the latest information I have from the judge handling the case is that the investigation... …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told reporters Tuesday that the recommendations of resigning Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty were key in the firing of nine US Attorneys last year. In comments made to the National Press Club, Gonzales said that McNulty knew better than …

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by Michael Sung

Former US Deputy Attorney General James Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday that in March 2004, in response to Comey's reservations about reauthorizing the controversial warrantless domestic surveillance program, then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card attempted to pressure the hospitalized Attorney General …

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by Michael Sung

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon Monday, formally requesting that the UN Security Council establish an ad hoc tribunal to investigate and try suspects in the February 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri because "all possible means" to ratify a UN tribunal …

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by Michael Sung

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDF) and American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Texas on Tuesday requested a temporary restraining order from the US District Court of the Northern District of Texas, seeking to block an anti-illegal immigration city ordinance scheduled to take effect next Tuesday in Farmers Branch, Texas. …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Tyco International said Tuesday that it has reached an agreement to settle most of the class actions pending against it by investors who were harmed by the actions of the company's former top executives. The settlement, which is subject to the approval of the largest shareholders and the federal court, requires Tyco …

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by Brett Murphy

The Supreme Court of Pakistan reconvened Tuesday to continue hearing petitions filed by suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry after adjourning Monday when a Supreme Court justice objected to the presence of more junior judges on the high court panel. Lawyers for Chaudhry told the court that Chaudhry had been …

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by Michael Sung

Lawyers for US Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) urged a federal appeals court Tuesday to overturn a lower court ruling that the FBI's 18-hour raid on Jefferson's congressional offices was legal. Jefferson is also seeking a court order for the return of materials seized from his office in May 2006 by …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court ruled Monday that a military trial of forty top members of the Muslim Brotherhood can go forward. The trial is scheduled to resume on June 3. The holding reverses last week's rejection of the military trial ordered by Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak. The Muslim Brotherhood characterized the …

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by Michael Sung

The US Department of Defense (DOD) Monday released the names and details of six former Guantanamo Bay detainees that it claims joined the fight against the US after their release from detention. Among those so identified was Mohamed Yusif Yaqub, whom Pentagon officials said became the commander of Taliban operations in Southern Afghanistan following …

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by Michael Sung

Security plans implemented since February by the Multi-National Force - Iraq (MNF-I) have contributed to overcrowding in Iraqi prisons, the Washington Post reported Tuesday. A UN report released in April estimated 20,000 detainees were held in Iraq-run facilities during the month of March, indicating an increase of over 3,500 detainees from the end …

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by Brett Murphy

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said in a speech to the National Press Club Tuesday that the nationwide increase in crime is due in part to the increase in gang and gun violence among teenagers. Gonzales said that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will spend $50 million this year in efforts to …

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by Michael Sung

Nigeria's Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal ruled Monday that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must provide "certified true copies" of ballots from Nigeria's contested April 21 presidential elections to embattled candidate and current Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar. The ruling, which stems from petitions filed by several candidates, also required the INEC …

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by D. Wes Rist

The senior Zimbabwe lawyer for soon-to-be-extradited British mercenary Simon Mann was arrested Monday night for alleged violations of Zimbabwe's Immigration Act. Jonathan Samkange was arrested by police in Harare, Zimbabwe's capital city, for allegedly violating immigration laws in relation to a witness that testified at one of Mann's hearings. Harare police have refused to comment …

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by Brett Murphy

Former CIA Executive Director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo pleaded not guilty to new charges on Monday that accuse him of receiving luxury kickbacks in return for giving a $100 million contract to defense contractor and friend Brent Wilkes. The new charges replace older corruption charges connected with the case of former Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham [official …

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by D. Wes Rist

Twenty-five judicial officials were removed from their offices in the Lagos State Judiciary in Nigeria Monday following allegations of corruption and bribery. State Attorney General Oluyemi Osinbajo announced the firings of 22 magistrates and three judges as part of a state and nation-wide attempt to crack down on judicial corruption using new policies that …

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by Michael Sung

A unpublished report by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) obtained by the New York Times accuses Israel of disregarding "its obligations under international humanitarian law" and "reshaping the development of the Jerusalem metropolitan area" to further its interests to the detriment of the East Jerusalem population with "far-reaching humanitarian consequences." The ICRC, which does …

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by Brett Murphy

US Marine Capt. Randy Stone did not commit a criminal dereliction of duty in his failure to investigate the killings of 24 Iraqi civilians at Haditha, Col. John Ewers said during testimony at Stone's Article 32 hearing Monday. While Ewers implied that Stone made a mistake by not investigating, he testified that …

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by Brett Murphy

Lawyers for suspended Pakistani Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said Tuesday that Monday's killing of Pakistani Supreme Court deputy registrar Syed Hamad Raza at his home in Islamabad was "targeted" and that Raza had been scheduled to appear as a witness on Chaudhry's behalf. The lawyers told AFP that Raza was under pressure from …

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by Brett Murphy

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales submitted the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007 to Congress on Monday, legislation meant to strengthen current copyright laws and provide harsher penalties for counterfeiters. The new measure would increase the maximum penalty for willful counterfeiting infringement to up to 20 years. At a speech to the …

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by Michael Sung

Elections held in the Philippines to elect members of the Philippines Senate and House of Representatives proceeded Monday despite reports of violence and allegations of fraud. Government authorities attributed the death of 116 people, including 11 candidates since the election campaigning season began on January 14 to election violence directed towards candidates and voters alike. The …

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by Brett Murphy

The Colombian high court ordered the arrest of five congressmen Monday for alleged ties to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) and authorities have listed an additional 15 current and former congress members and businesspersons as suspected of having ties to the paramilitary group. All of the political representatives are supporters of current Colombian President Alvaro …

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