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Legal news from Tuesday, May 22, 2007
by Caitlin Price

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment removing term limits on his own presidency. The measure, which only applies to Nazarbayev, was proposed by the president last week and was approved by a large majority of the Kazakh parliament on Friday. Under the amendment, subsequent presidents will have to …

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by Caitlin Price

The Philippines' Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Tuesday stopped the counting of last week's votes for congressional candidates in the southern province of Maguindanao to investigate allegations of fraud. Early reports of voter intimidation and vote-rigging have emerged across the country; in Maguindanao, an independent watchdog group complained that it was blocked from monitoring the voting …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko asked a lower court in Kiev Tuesday to block the Constitutional Court of Ukraine from ruling on his April 2 decree dissolving parliament by challenging the court's actions and alleging corruption. This follows his rejection of the Constitutional Court's authority [JURIST …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held hearings Tuesday on California's request for a waiver of preemption for its greenhouse gas emission standards for new cars. The standards would require car manufacturers to cut emissions by 25 percent from cars and light trucks, and 18 percent from SUVs, starting with the 2009 model year. California's …

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by Michael Sung

Thousands of farmers in southwestern China reportedly rioted over the weekend due to efforts by local government officials to more strictly enforce China's "One Child Policy". A local resident told AP said that the government had imposed fines of over 10,000 yuan ($1,300 USD) on families that had too many children. Hong Kong-based Ming Pao daily reported that …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Lawyers for former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra Tuesday threatened to bring a lawsuit against a committee investigating Thaksin's alleged corruption if it releases details of a report into a controversial land purchase. Thaksin's lawyers believe that the release of the information would prejudice any case against Thaksin. Subcommittee chairman Udom Fuangfung …

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by Michael Sung

Chung Mong-koo, chairman of Hyundai Motors Group, pressed an appeal of his February 5 conviction for embezzlement and bribery Tuesday by submitting a written "pledge" to the Seoul High Court, hoping to obtain leniency by honoring an earlier promise to donate shares valued at one trillion won ($1.07 billion USD) to charity over …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Members of the committee responsible for developing reforms to Iraq's constitution said Tuesday that, after six months of negotiations, they have been unable to reach any sort of agreement. The panel made up of Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds had promised to present Iraq's parliament by May 15 a set of proposed amendments aimed at …

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by Michael Sung

Moroccan police arrested three leading human rights activists and attempted to arrest three others in the disputed Western Sahara [UNHCR backgrounder; pro-independence backgrounder; pro-Morocco backgrounder] region Sunday amid a crackdown before scheduled talks with pro-independence factions next month. Brahim Dahane, president of the Saharawi Association for Human Rights Victims, said that two members of his …

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by Michael Sung

A Manhattan federal jury Monday convicted Dr. Rafik Abdus Sabir, a US citizen with a medical practice based in Florida, of conspiracy to provide material support to al Qaeda and attempting to provide that support. Sabir was arrested and charged in May 2005 following several meetings with an undercover FBI agent posing as an al …

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by Michael Sung

A lawyer for former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks said Monday that Hicks does not plan to challenge the legality of any control order imposed after his release from prison in Australia. David McLeod said that Hicks is grateful for efforts made to secure his return to Australia and doesn't want to be …

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by Brett Murphy

The California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District has ruled that the state may continue to transfer prisoners out-of-state while litigation proceeds over the challenged program to deal with California's prison overcrowding. The state has appealed a Sacramento County Superior Court ruling against the program, which began out-of-state transfers in …

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by Brett Murphy

The UN Committee Against Torture Monday urged Poland to disclose details regarding a parliamentary investigation into the presence of secret CIA prisons in the country on Monday, expressing concern that Poland participated in running terrorist suspect prisons in the country. Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said that …

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by D. Wes Rist

Police in Zimbabwe are refusing to comply with a High Court ruling requiring police officials to vacate Portwe farm in the Matabeleland North province, which was seized by police in March. High Court Judge Francis Bere ruled last week that the police seizure was illegal and issued an order requiring the police to return …

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by Brett Murphy

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will review allegations of rape and other violence committed in the Central African Republic (CAR), ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said Tuesday. According to Moreno-Ocampo, reports detailing hundreds of rape victims "calling for justice" have been turned over to the Prosecutor's Office, which will now conduct its …

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by D. Wes Rist

Twenty-one men on trial for assorted crimes under anti-terror laws in Mauritania accused police officials Monday of using torture to extract confessions. All 21 of the suspects are charged with belonging to the "non-authorized organization" Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC), a known wing of the al Qaeda organization, and several of …

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by Brett Murphy

President Bush said Monday that he still fully supports US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales despite the growing number of Republicans who have expressed concern over the firings of nine federal prosecutors, telling reporters at a press conference on the Bush Ranch that "He has got my confidence. He has done nothing wrong...I …

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by Michael Sung

The British Crown Prosecution Service (CRS) said Tuesday that there is sufficient evidence to charge Russian businessman Andrei Lugovoi with murder in the poisoning death of former Russian intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko. British prosecutors are seeking Lugovoi's arrest and extradition, and a high-level deputy of British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett [official …

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by Michael Sung

Leaders in the US Senate said Monday that a final vote on an immigration reform agreement reached last week will be delayed until June due to opposition from both sides in Congress. Some Republican senators have derided the latest immigration reform plan as amounting to "amnesty" for up to 12 million undocumented …

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by Michael Sung

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Texas (ACLU-Texas) won a temporary restraining order from the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas Monday, blocking the enforcement of an anti-illegal immigration city ordinance that was scheduled to take effect …

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