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Legal news from Tuesday, June 19, 2007

[JURIST] Republicans introduced the Secure Borders FIRST (For Integrity, Reform, Safety and anti-Terrorism) Act [press release] to the US House of Representatives Tuesday as a challenge to the White House-sponsored immigration proposal. The bill declares English the nation's official language, requires background checks on all workers, bars all current illegal … [read more]

[JURIST] The US Department of Defense [official website] announced Tuesday that six detainees have been transferred [press release] from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay and into the custody of other home countries. Two of the transfers were to Tunisia and the four other detainees were transferred to Yemen. The … [read more]

[JURIST] The Somalia transitional government [official website] offered amnesty Tuesday to the former Islamic extremist group that controlled the capital of Mogadishu [JURIST report] last year. The declaration was announced hours after an assassination attempt [Reuters report] against presidential spokesman Hussein Mohamed Mahamud "Hubsired." The government announced that the move … [read more]

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Kuwait [official backgrounder] Tuesday affirmed death sentences [JURIST report] for two of six Islamist militants convicted in 2005 for their involvement in a clash with police that left several people dead, but commuted the other four to life in prison. The men, members of an … [read more]

[JURIST] The UK justice minister told the House of Lords [official website] Tuesday that he has given authority to prison governors to "release on licence for offenders who are coming to the end of their sentence" [statement text] as a way to relieve overcrowding of prisons [BBC backgrounder; Guardian Q&A] … [read more]

[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers Leandro Despouy [official website] Tuesday urged Iraq to stop carrying out death sentences [press release], saying that the use of capital punishment despite threats of violence against the judiciary and the continued lack of independent tribunals and adequate defense … [read more]

[JURIST] A Republican-sponsored amendment to a North Carolina bill [HB 818 materials] aimed at allowing capital punishment [JURIST news archive] to resume in the state failed Monday when state House Democrats struck down language that would have forbidden the North Carolina Medical Board (NCMB) [official website] from disciplining a doctor … [read more]

[JURIST] Thai police Tuesday charged former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] with concealing assets and illegally holding stock in publicly listed companies, as interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont [official profile; BBC profile] repeated his previous guarantee for Thaksin's personal safety [JURIST report]. Department of Special Investigations … [read more]

[JURIST] Members of the UN Human Rights Council (UNCHR) [official website; JURIST news archive] on Monday reached an agreement [press release] on final rules governing the body, agreeing to a final text that requires proposed resolutions condemning human rights violators to have the support of at least 15 members before … [read more]

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled [PDF text] unanimously Monday that the warrantless search of e-mails stored on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) violates the Fourth Amendment [text], finding that e-mail users correctly maintain a reasonable expectation of privacy and rejecting the government's contention that an … [read more]

[JURIST] Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer [BBC profile] vetoed a bill Monday that sought to hold a national referendum on whether the president should be elected by popular vote, on the grounds that it conflicted with the Turkish constitution [text]. The proposed national referendum, approved in parliament and supported [JURIST … [read more]

[JURIST] Lawyers representing approximately three million Vietnamese plaintiffs appealed the dismissal [PDF text; JURIST report] of their civil lawsuit to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] Monday. The plaintiffs argued that more than 30 American chemical companies should be held liable for billions of dollars … [read more]

[JURIST] The UK government is planning to proceed with proposals [consultation paper, PDF] designed to increase rape convictions despite objections [JURIST report] from the Council of Circuit Judges (COCJ) [official website], the Guardian reported Monday. Solicitor General Mike O'Brien [official profile] said that the reforms, including a proposal to allow … [read more]

[JURIST] UN Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Larry Johnson called for greater acceptance of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism [PDF text] Monday, noting an "urgent need to enhance international cooperation" to both prevent terrorism and punish terrorists. Johnson was moderating a panel discussion between … [read more]

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives Oversight Committee [official website] said Monday that e-mail records for 51 of 88 White House officials being investigated [interim report, PDF] for potential Presidential Records Act (PRA) violations were missing [press release], finding that there have been "extensive destruction" of e-mail records of officials … [read more]

[JURIST] President Bush's use of bill signing statements [1993 DOJ backgrounder; JURIST news archive] has led to several instances where provisions of laws have been ignored in favor of the Bush administration's interpretation, according to a report [PDF text] released Monday by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) [official website]. … [read more]

[JURIST] UK Prime Minister Tony Blair [official profile] said Monday that there were four elements he would not accept in any EU treaty. In remarks [transcript] made to the House of Commons Liaison Committee [official website], Blair acknowledged that it was an important that the EU "work more effectively" as … [read more]

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