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Legal news from Thursday, May 31, 2007
by Leslie Schulman

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and new French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced Wednesday that they both back proposals for a limited constitutional treaty that would amend the organization and powers of the European Union (EU). German Chancellor Angel Merkel, whose government currently holds the six-month …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

A criminal court in Cairo Thursday refused a plea by public prosecutor Abdel Maguid for the release of jailed Egyptian opposition leader Ayman Nour. Maguid had asked the court to consider Nour's deteriorating health, which is complicated by heart disease and diabetes. Maguid's request also follows accusations by Nour's wife, Gamila Ismail, that Egypt's …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The government of Fiji Thursday lifted emergency regulations imposed on the country since unrest in early December. Military commander and self-declared interim Prime Minister Voreqe "Frank" Bainimarama declared a state of emergency after overthrowing the government in a military coup on December 5. The emergency powers withdrew some rights protected …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Turkey's parliament Thursday passed for a second time a constitutional amendment allowing for direct election to the presidency, but complaints of balloting violations arose even before the vote finished. The main opposition party, the secularist Republican People's Party (CHP), says it may petition the Constitutional Court as …

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by Michael Sung

Zhao Bingzhi, president of the criminal law research committee of the China Law Society told China Daily Thursday that China is preparing to enact anti-terrorism legislation, which Zhao described as a "separate law" designed to provide a legal framework to better "fight terrorism." The Daily reported that legislation will be considered by …

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by Michael Sung

Zdravko Tolimir, a former Bosnian Serb general and a UN-indicted war crimes suspect, has been arrested, according to Thursday media reports. Tolimir, a close aide to war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic, is charged with genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, as well as various other crimes against …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

US District Judge Reggie B. Walton said Thursday that he will release more than 150 letters he has received in relation to next week's sentencing of former vice-presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. While Libby opposed the release of the letters, saying that the writers did not intend for them to become …

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by Michael Sung

FBI Assistant Director of Public Affairs John Miller said Wednesday during an interview with C-SPAN that an FBI report expected to be released next week will detail a nationwide increase in murders, robberies and other violent crimes for a second straight year. Miller said the report will likely show "a continued uptick in violent crime, particularly among …

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by Michael Sung

Judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) who will preside over the Khmer Rouge genocide trials met Thursday to resolve remaining disputes between Cambodian and international jurists concerning the internal regulations of the tribunal. The meeting, announced earlier this month, is expected to continue for the next two weeks. Once the …

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by Michael Sung

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch signed a bill Thursday allowing same-sex couples to enter into civil unions with the "same rights, responsibilities, and obligations as married couples" beginning in January 2008. Lynch hailed the bill as a continuation of "New Hampshire's longstanding tradition of rejecting discrimination... dates back to the Abolitionist …

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by Michael Sung

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled 2-1 Wednesday that the brother of dissident Cyrus Elahi, assassinated in Paris in 1990, can collect on a default judgment he holds against Iran by attaching a $2.8 million judgment obtained by the Iranian Ministry of Defense against California-based Cubic Defense Systems. Dariush Elahi was …

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by Brett Murphy

Hundreds of Italian prison inmates have sent a letter to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano asking him to restore the country's death penalty. More than 300 of the 1,300 prisoners serving life sentences signed the letter, "asking for our life sentence to be changed to a death sentence" because of the lack of …

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by Michael Sung

Lebanese National Assembly speaker Nabih Berri joined Syria Thursday in condemning the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1757 unilaterally establishing an ad hoc tribunal to investigate and try suspects in the February 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, saying it infringed Lebanese sovereignty and impeded the …

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by Brett Murphy

A Zambian court held Thursday that former Zambian President Frederick Chiluba must go to trial on charges of corruption, despite questions about his health. Lawyers for Chiluba argued that Chiluba was unable to proceed to trial because of a heart condition, but the court held that it "should proceed with this matter to help all other parties …

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by Michael Sung

Hamid Khan, a lawyer for the Pakistan Bar Council, argued before the Supreme Court of Pakistan Thursday that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's March 9 suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry was unconstitutional, alleging that Musharraf failed to consult the cabinet and that it only addressed Chaudhry's suspension …

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by Brett Murphy

Canadian Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr fired all of his American lawyers on Wednesday, days before he is scheduled to appear for arraignment before a US military commission. According to his former Marine Corps lawyer Marine Lt. Col. Colby Vokey, Khadr fired both his Pentagon-appointed lawyer and a group of …

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by Michael Sung

Human Rights Watch (HRW) Thursday urged international donors to increase their contributions to the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), echoing a plea by prosecutor Stephen Rapp who warned Wednesday that the tribunal would be forced to release accused former Liberian President Charles Taylor "if they run …

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by Brett Murphy

Constitutional gridlock continued in Ukraine on Thursday, as the country's parliament again failed to approve a bill that would set a new date for controversial parliamentary elections. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych finally reached an agreement on Sunday to hold the elections …

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by Michael Sung

Approximately 30 Chinese demonstrators carrying banners massed outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing Thursday, protesting a April 27 court ruling by the Supreme Court of Japan denying compensation claims made by five Chinese wartime slave laborers. The compensation claims were denied on the grounds that the 1972 Joint Communique of the Government of Japan and …

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by Brett Murphy

US immigration courts are inconsistent in granting asylum to applicants, according to a new study by three law professors to be published in the Stanford Law Review. The professors found that factors that contributed to the outcome of applications for asylum include the location of the court, the background of the judge, and the nationality of the applicant. …

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by Michael Sung

Japan's Nagoya High Court Thursday upheld a district court's denial of compensation to a group of seven South Korean women who were former slave laborers at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.'s aircraft factories during World War II, finding that neither the Japanese government or Mitsubishi were obligated to provide compensation, apology, or unpaid wages because the 1965 Treaty …

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by Michael Sung

A Saudi Arabian detainee held at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay died Wednesday afternoon in what military officials characterized as an apparent suicide. The officials did not identify the detainee or disclose the manner of death. Approximately 80 of the 385 detainees currently held at Guantanamo are from Saudi …

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