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Legal news from Wednesday, June 6, 2007
by Caitlin Price

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are investigating allegations that an army commander used Palestinians as human shields in the latest and highest-reaching probe into the banned practice, according to Israeli media reports Wednesday. Accused officer Brig. Gen. Yair Golan, commander of the West Bank army division and a potential candidate for military secretary under Prime Minister Ehud …

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by Caitlin Price

Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz Wednesday ordered the dropping of all complaints previously lodged against approximately 200 journalists, opposition party members and pro-democracy activists who protested Monday against an emergency media ordinance. The protest took place in defiance of a government ban on unauthorized rallies issued by President Pervez Musharraf late …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will fast-track its decision in a case concerning insurance companies' coverage of levee failure damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a judge said following oral arguments Wednesday. Judge Carolyn King, part of a panel of three judges who heard arguments in the …

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by Michael Sung

The US Department of Defense (DOD) Wednesday announced the transfer of Abdullahi Sudi Arale, a suspected East Africa al Qaeda (EAAQ) courier captured in Somalia, to the military prison at Guantanamo Bay. Arale is accused of aiding various EAAQ-affiliated extremists in obtaining weapons and providing false documents to facilitate terrorists traveling to Somalia. DOD …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The family of Iraqi hotel receptionist Baha Musa, who died while in British military custody in 2003, plans to sue the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD), according to a family lawyer Wednesday. Solicitor Martyn Day told Reuters that the move was necessary following the dismissal earlier this year against the seven …

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by Michael Sung

Carla Del Ponte, top prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) praised last week's arrest and extradition of war crimes suspect Zdravko Tolimir Wednesday, but reiterated that Serbia must arrest and extradite war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic. Five of …

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by Michael Sung

The government of Ethiopia charged 55 people affiliated with the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) Tuesday with plotting to overthrow the government following Ethiopia's 2005 election. The CUD has previously accused Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of stealing the election by voter fraud. Another 129 lawmakers, journalists, and human rights activists …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

An Iranian judge said Wednesday that two detained Iranian-Americans had admitted to carrying out some "activities," but it is not clear if this is tantamount to admission of spying. In an interview with Iran's ISNA news agency, Judge Hossein Haddad, security deputy of Tehran's public and revolutionary court, said that Dr. Haleh …

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by Michael Sung

A court in Mauritania acquitted 24 defendants on trial for assorted crimes under anti-terror laws Tuesday, finding that confessions and testimonies obtained from the suspects were inadmissible because they were obtained through torture. Only one defendant, who was tried in absentia following his escape, was convicted and sentenced to two-years in prison and fined …

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by Michael Sung

US District Judge Eldon E. Fallon of the US Eastern District of Louisiana Tuesday modified his 2006 ruling that rejected a $51 million jury award against pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., offering the plaintiff $600,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages. The plaintiff, Gerald Barnett, a former FBI …

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by Michael Sung

The California State Assembly voted 42-34 Tuesday to approve the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act which would restore California's marriage statute to its pre-1977 gender-neutral language and define marriage as "a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between two persons" capable of giving consent and issued a license by authorized …

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by Michael Sung

Judges on Ecuador's new Constitutional Tribunal Tuesday selected Patricio Pazmino Freire, a supporter of Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, to head the court. The new membership of the tribunal, elected last week by the pro-Correan Ecuadorean Congress, is expected to fall in line with Correa's …

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by Michael Sung

The Constitutional Court of Hungary ruled Tuesday in favor of a proposed referendum on unpopular economic reform proposals advanced by Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany. A coalition of opposition parties including the Hungarian Civic Party (FIDESZ), the Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP), and the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) had sought a referendum on …

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by Michael Sung

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an appeal Tuesday against the dismissal of immigration fraud charges against anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles. US District Judge Kathleen Cardone ruled in May that the indictment against Carriles should be dismissed because the US government's tactics in its investigation of Carries were …

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by Michael Sung

The New Haven, Connecticut Board of Alderman has voted 25-1 to fund a program advanced by Mayor John DeStefano Jr. that will provide a municipal identification card to all residents, including the approximately 15,000 undocumented immigrants that reside in New Haven. DeStefano hailed Monday's vote as a "great decision for New Haven," saying that "no …

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by Michael Sung

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday that Russia will not raise the issue of withdrawing from the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty when it meets with other CFE Treaty signatories in Vienna next week. Lavrov's statement comes amid tension between the US and Russia over US plans to locate parts of a missile defense …

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by Michael Sung

France's practice of expelling non-citizens accused of links to violent extremism lacks sufficient procedural safeguards and undermines human rights, according to a report released Wednesday by Human Rights Watch. The report found that the current French policies allow the expulsion or deportation of a suspect once an initial decision has been reached in …

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