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Legal news from Thursday, May 17, 2007
by Leslie Schulman

Lawyers for the US government argued for the extradition of Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri in a hearing before a London court Thursday. Al-Masri is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence in Britain for urging his followers to kill Jews and other non-Muslims and using "threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior" …

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by Leslie Schulman

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) held elections to its 47-member Geneva-based panel on Thursday, with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Slovenia defeating Belarus for the two available Eastern European states seats. The US, most European countries, and several human rights groups opposed Belarus' candidacy, citing the country's poor human …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Two Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Thursday that they plan to seek a vote of no-confidence in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that only President Bush remains confident in Gonzales, under fire for the allegedly political firings of nine federal prosecutors. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Key US senators from both political parties and White House cabinet officers reached a tentative agreement on immigration reform on Thursday, after weeks of negotiations. The proposal, which President Bush calls "secure, productive, orderly, and fair", gives more weight to an immigrant's education level than his family connections in the US when awarding green cards. …

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by Brett Murphy

A lawyer for Vice President Dick Cheney urged a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit brought by former CIA operative Valerie Plame against members of the Bush administration, arguing that the lawsuit is based on "fanciful claims." Plame filed the lawsuit last year, alleging that White House officials violated her constitutional rights to …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Australian authorities have released British-born Jack Roche on parole 3 years after sentencing him in 2004 to nine years in prison for plotting to blow up the Israeli Embassy in Canberra, according to Thursday media reports. Roche must now regularly report to police. Born in England, Roche traveled to Afghanistan and met with …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour Thursday denounced the poor conditions of prisons in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) during a visit there, deploring in particular overcrowding and inadequate access to justice. Three thousand people are imprisoned at the CPRK (Centre Penitentiare et de Réeducation de Kinshasa), the largest prison in …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, predicted Thursday that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will resign from his post at the conclusion of current investigations into the allegedly-political firings of federal prosecutors. Specter's comments followed others made by Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) Wednesday, who …

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by Michael Sung

Ivan Dombrovsky, chairperson of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, resigned without elaboration Thursday as the 18-judge court continued to deliberate the constitutionality of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's April 2 decree dissolving parliament and calling for new elections. The Constitutional Court has appointed Deputy Chair Valery Pshenichny to be the new chief …

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by Michael Sung

The UK Court of Appeal Thursday restored a control order on a terrorist suspect identified only as "E". The court held that a prior ruling wrongly required Home Secretary John Reid to consider the judgments of a Belgian court when determining whether there was sufficient evidence to support a criminal indictment against E. …

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by Brett Murphy

The African Commission on Human and People's Rights will review alleged human rights violations committed by Zimbabwe after African non-governmental organizations placed the issue on the agenda of ACHPR's 41st session, which began Wednesday. In an interview with VOA News, Wilbert Mandinde, legal advisor to the Zimbabwe Chapter of the Media Institute …

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by Michael Sung

The British House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee released a report Wednesday recommending that the government "bring forward proposals" to the European Commission "for an extension of copyright term for sound recordings to at least 70-years." The current British audio recordings copyright limit is limited to 50 years from the time of the recording. …

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by Brett Murphy

The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR) filed a lawsuit against the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) Wednesday requesting the public disclosure of a terrorist watch list containing more than 6,000 names. LCCR requested the document in 2005, and maintains …

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by Michael Sung

The Supreme Court of Pakistan Thursday extended the suspension of the Supreme Judicial Council's (SJC) inquiry into the alleged misconduct of ousted Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, denying a government request to resume proceedings and dismiss petitions filed by Chaudhry. Chaudhry has challenged the legality of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's …

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by D. Wes Rist

Police in Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe, were seen assaulting and arresting protesters who had taken to the streets Wednesday to express dissatisfaction with newly proposed constitutional amendments. Witnesses reported that at least 20 protesters were arrested and three were severely beaten by police. At least one protester had to be taken to the hospital …

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by Michael Sung

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report Wednesday criticizing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Customs and Border Protection Agency's Automated Targeting System, which the GAO says violates federal privacy laws by allowing personal information "to be used in multiple prescreening …

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by Brett Murphy

The California Supreme Court denied review of a lower court ruling Wednesday, effectively allowing the continuation of a state-sponsored program for stem cell research operated by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. A California state appeals court upheld the validity of the program in February, writing that …

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by Michael Sung

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) considered replacing at least 26 of 93 US Attorneys between February 2005 and December 2006, a much higher number than previously acknowledged by officials, according to a report in Thursday's Washington Post. Documents not publicly disclosed indicate that Kyle Sampson, former chief of staff for Attorney General …

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