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Legal news from Tuesday, June 19, 2007
by Melissa Bancroft

Republicans introduced the Secure Borders FIRST (For Integrity, Reform, Safety and anti-Terrorism) Act 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 immigrants from gaining legal status, and calls for an additional …

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by Melissa Bancroft

The US Department of Defense announced Tuesday that six detainees have been transferred 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 detainees became eligible for transfer from the US military prison …

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by Melissa Bancroft

The Somalia transitional government offered amnesty Tuesday to the former Islamic extremist group that controlled the capital of Mogadishu last year. The declaration was announced hours after an assassination attempt against presidential spokesman Hussein Mohamed Mahamud "Hubsired." The government announced that the move was intended to foster a sense of good will before …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The Supreme Court of Kuwait Tuesday affirmed death sentences 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 al Qaeda linked group called the Peninsula Lions, …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The UK justice minister told the House of Lords Tuesday that he has given authority to prison governors to "release on licence for offenders who are coming to the end of their sentence" as a way to relieve overcrowding of prisons [BBC backgrounder; Guardian Q&A] across England and Wales. Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State …

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by Michael Sung

UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers Leandro Despouy Tuesday urged Iraq to stop carrying out death sentences, saying that the use of capital punishment despite threats of violence against the judiciary and the continued lack of independent tribunals and adequate defense counsel violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

A Republican-sponsored amendment to a North Carolina bill aimed at allowing capital punishment to resume in the state failed Monday when state House Democrats struck down language that would have forbidden the North Carolina Medical Board (NCMB) from disciplining a doctor for participating in an execution. The amendment, …

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by Michael Sung

Thai police Tuesday charged former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra with concealing assets and illegally holding stock in publicly listed companies, as interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont repeated his previous guarantee for Thaksin's personal safety. Department of Special Investigations (DSI) Director General Sunai Manomaiudom ordered Thaksin to return to …

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by Michael Sung

Members of the UN Human Rights Council (UNCHR) on Monday reached an agreement 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 they can be submitted to the 47-member body for a …

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by Michael Sung

The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled unanimously Monday that the warrantless search of e-mails stored on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) violates the Fourth Amendment, finding that e-mail users correctly maintain a reasonable expectation of privacy and rejecting the government's contention that an ISP's right to screen e-mails for spam and inappropriate content …

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by Michael Sung

Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer 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. The proposed national referendum, approved in parliament and supported by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and …

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by Michael Sung

Lawyers representing approximately three million Vietnamese plaintiffs appealed the dismissal of their civil lawsuit to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Monday. The plaintiffs argued that more than 30 American chemical companies should be held liable for billions of dollars in compensatory damages and environmental cleanup costs for producing and …

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by Michael Sung

The UK government is planning to proceed with proposals designed to increase rape convictions despite objections from the Council of Circuit Judges (COCJ), the Guardian reported Monday. Solicitor General Mike O'Brien said that the reforms, including a proposal to allow expert testimony to dispel rape myths and the automatic introduction …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

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 Monday, noting an "urgent need to enhance international cooperation" to both prevent terrorism and punish terrorists. Johnson was moderating a panel discussion between experts on the topic of nuclear terrorism …

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by Michael Sung

The US House of Representatives Oversight Committee said Monday that e-mail records for 51 of 88 White House officials being investigated for potential Presidential Records Act (PRA) violations were missing, finding that there have been "extensive destruction" of e-mail records of officials who used accounts issued by the Republican National Committee (RNC). …

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by Michael Sung

President Bush's use of bill signing statements has led to several instances where provisions of laws have been ignored in favor of the Bush administration's interpretation, according to a report released Monday by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO). At the request of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Sen. Robert …

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by Michael Sung

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said Monday that there were four elements he would not accept in any EU treaty. In remarks made to the House of Commons Liaison Committee, Blair acknowledged that it was an important that the EU "work more effectively" as an organization, but said that it doesn't need a real …

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