Legal news from Monday, June 11, 2007
20:06 EDT

[JURIST] Iranian-American scholar Dr. Haleh Esfandiari [WWC profile], currently detained by the Iranian government, is being denied access to counsel, according to her lawyer, 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi [BBC profile]. Esfandiari, director of the Middle East Program at the DC-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars [think [read more]

19:06 EDT

[JURIST] The US Senate voted 53-38 [roll call] Monday on a cloture motion [Senate backgrounder] limiting debate on a joint resolution expressing its lack of confidence [JURIST report] in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [JURIST news archive], effectively stopping the resolution from coming to a floor vote. The motion fell seven [read more]

17:06 EDT

[JURIST] Thailand's Assets Examination Committee (AEC) ordered the assets of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and his wife frozen on Monday, saying the $1.6 billion dollars should not be touched until a court determines if the money was legally obtained. Thaksin, who made his fortune [read more]

16:06 EDT

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] granted certiorari Monday in three cases [order list, PDF] to be heard next term, two of which deal with federal sentencing guidelines. In Kimbrough v. US (06-6330) [docket] the court will decide an appeal of a Fourth Circuit case stemming [read more]

15:06 EDT

[JURIST] Egyptian police reportedly prevented voters from entering polling stations and arrested approximately 100 members from the banned opposition Muslim Brotherhood [party website; FAS backgrounder] Monday as Egypt held elections for the Shura Council [Wikipedia backgrounder], the upper house of the Egyptian parliament. Some voters also reported the government pressured [read more]

15:06 EDT

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Georgia [official website] Monday dismissed a challenge to Georgia's voter ID law [text; JURIST news archive], finding that the plaintiff lacked standing to mount the challenge [opinion, PDF; summary (pg. 4), PDF], without addressing the law itself. The court said that the plaintiff, as a [read more]

14:06 EDT

[JURIST] The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) [advocacy website] Monday accused [press release, PDF] the Zimbabwean government of "interfering with the proper functioning of the administration of justice, the role of lawyers and their independence," following a five-day mission in which the rights group found instances in which lawyers representing [read more]

14:06 EDT

[JURIST] Yahoo! Inc. [corporate website] condemned the persecution of individuals for political expression in China Monday, saying it has informed the Chinese government of its position but reiterating that Yahoo! must comply with Chinese law if it is to do business in China. Yahoo! is currently facing legal challenges alleging [read more]

13:06 EDT

[JURIST] A US federal appeals court ruled [PDF text] Monday that the military cannot seize and imprison civilians lawfully residing in the United States and detain them as "enemy combatants." The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] rejected the government's contention that the president was authorized [read more]

13:06 EDT

[JURIST] The government of Pakistan has prepared a new complaint against suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry [official website; JURIST news archive], Pakistan Minister of Law, Justice & Human Rights Muhammad Wasi Zafar [official profile] said Sunday. Zafar added that the new document will be filed at an "appropriate time," [read more]

12:06 EDT

[JURIST] Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell [official profile] said Sunday that he favors the immediate closure [transcript] of all detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], adding that he would also "get rid" of the framework created by the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) [PDF text] [read more]

11:06 EDT

[JURIST] At least one-third of the 37 immigration judges appointed by the Justice Department since 2004 are highly-connected Republicans or Bush administration insiders and half of those appointed lacked prior experience in immigration law, the Washington Post reported Monday. Immigration judges, who sit alone on cases, annually deport approximately 250,000 [read more]

11:06 EDT

[JURIST] Lebanon's Supreme Judicial Council convened Monday to discuss the nomination of 12 Lebanese judges to be considered by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for appointment to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon [UN materials], established under UN Security Council Resolution 1757 [PDF text; JURIST report] to investigate and try suspects in [read more]

10:06 EDT

[JURIST] South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun [BBC profile] criticized South Korea's election laws Sunday, saying that the country's political system with a single five-year presidential term was "underdeveloped" and should be reformed. Roh also criticized the country's political neutrality laws and rejected last Thursday's ruling by the National Election Commission [read more]

10:06 EDT

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] handed down decisions in five cases Monday, including Watson v. Philip Morris [Duke Law case backgrounder], where the Court held that a lawsuit against the tobacco company could not be removed from state to federal court solely based on an [read more]

09:06 EDT

[JURIST] A European Union human rights team expressed the EU's "deep concern" at the state of human rights in Bangladesh [JURIST news archive] under President Iajuddin Ahmed's interim government at the conclusion of a visit to the country Saturday, flagging reports of extra-judicial killings, torture and intimidation alleged to have [read more]

08:06 EDT

[JURIST] Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court ruled Saturday against an American University of Cairo (AUC) [official website] ban on women wearing the Muslim niqab [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] on campus, finding that the private university could not require a plaintiff student to unveil her face because it was her constitutional [read more]

08:06 EDT

[JURIST] The lower house of the parliament of Rwanda [government website; JURIST news archive] voted Friday to abolish the death penalty [JURIST news archive] effective July 1, with the hope that the measure will prompt other countries to extradite defendants facing trial for the 1994 Rwandan genocide [BBC backgrounder; JURIST [read more]

07:06 EDT

[JURIST] The Zimbabwean government has published proposed amendments to the Constitution of Zimbabwe [PDF text] that would allow the simultaneous election of the president and both houses of legislature, reforms that critics allege to be an attempt by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile] to weaken the opposition. The proposed [read more]

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