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Legal news from Friday, July 6, 2007
by Mike Rosen-Molina

Investigators searched the offices of former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin on Friday as part of a probe into an alleged smear campaign conducted against Villepin political rival and now French President Nicolas Sarkozy. In 2004, a magistrate received anonymous letters accusing Sarkozy of holding secret bank …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, Friday approved legislative amendments to change the prevailing definition of extremist crime in Russian law to include activities taken for "political or ideological hatred." Opponents of the legislation criticized the amendments as an attempt to curtail civil liberties and hamper democracy by putting restraints on media …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

Serbia will arrest wanted war crimes fugitive Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic and transfer him to the UN war crimes tribunal at The Hague within the year, President Boris Tadic said Friday. Tadic told reporters that he considered the capture of Mladic to be vital to pushing forward Serbia's stabilisation …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash) announced Friday he will ask the US Supreme Court to rule on whether he had a First Amendment right to turn over an illegally taped telephone call conversation to the media that involved House Republican leaders. In 1996, McDermott leaked a recorded telephone conversation in which several Republican lawmakers discussed ethics …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) has increased to approximately $100,000 a month the funds available for former Liberian president Charles Taylor to defend himself in his ongoing war crimes trial. The allocation includes money for a legal team and an investigator, as well as office space in …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

US military prosecutors have filed an appeal against a military judge's decision to dismiss charges against Guantanamo detainee Omar Ahmed Khadr, according to the Department of Defense (DOD) Friday. In late June, Judge Peter E. Brownback III reiterated his earlier ruling dismissing charges against Khadr on grounds that the Combatant Status Review …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

A Bangladeshi court jailed UN human rights expert Sigma Huda Thursday, pending a trial over allegations connecting her to a government corruption case. Prosecutors allege Huda assisted her husband, former Bangladeshi communications minister Nazmul Huda, in extorting almost $300,000 USD from a construction company while in office. The Bangladesh Supreme Court overturned a …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Russia expressed displeasure with the UK Friday over British refusal to prosecute exiled business tycoon Boris Berezovsky for his calls to overthrow Russian President Vladimir Putin. Berezovsky, who has been living in the UK since 2001 as a refugee, called for a regime change in an April interview with the Guardian. While …

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by Michael Sung

The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court on Friday convicted former Pharmaceutical Registration Department Director Cao Wenzhuan of corruption and dereliction of duty for receiving approximately $316,000 in bribes from two pharmaceutical companies in exchange for certifying substandard drugs at the State Food and Drug Administration. The court sentenced Cao to death on …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

South Dakota is preparing to hold its first execution in 60 years next week, AP reported Friday. The execution was halted last year by Governor Mike Rounds, but the passage of new lethal injection protocols in February cleared up the legal concerns that led to its suspension. While the former law, written in 1984, …

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by Michael Sung

Italy's Superior Council of the Magistracy (CSM), the country's top self-governing judiciary body, has accused the Italian Intelligence and Security Service (SISMI) under the government of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of spying on approximately 200 judges and magistrates that were deemed "politically unreliable" by the government. The CSM accused …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has denied a prosecution motion which sought to move the trial of former Bosnian army commander Rasim Delic out of the international court at The Hague. Prosecutors sought the change after the court limited the …

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by Michael Sung

Mizanur Rahman was convicted Thursday in a UK court of inciting murder during a February 2006 protest against the publication of cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. Rahman, who has already been convicted for inciting racial hatred during the rally at the Danish embassy, called for the beheading of individuals who insult Islam …

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by Michael Sung

US District Judge Cecilia Altonaga upheld torture charges Thursday against the son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, Charles McArthur Emmanuel, rejecting Emmanuel's argument that a federal anti-torture statute exceeds Congressional authority because it criminalizes behavior of foreign government officials outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States. …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has rejected a lawsuit challenging the government's domestic surveillance program, ruling Friday that the lawsuit should be dismissed because the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the suit. The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of journalists, scholars, attorneys and national nonprofit …

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by Michael Sung

Lawyer Kenneth R. Feinberg was appointed Thursday to head the distribution effort of the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund established to aid victims and families of the April 16 massacre at Virginia Tech that left 33 people dead and 25 wounded in the largest shooting spree in US history. …

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by Michael Sung

A US Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) spokesperson has confirmed that up to 10 US Marines are currently under investigation for the alleged killing of at least eight Iraqi detainees during the Multinational National Force-Iraq's November 2004 offensive in Fallujah. The latest allegations surfaced when former Marine Corporal Ryan Weemer admitted the incident during a …

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by Michael Sung

Thailand's Constitution Drafting Assembly approved a final draft of a new constitution Friday, paving the way for an August 19 constitutional referendum and possible general elections in December. The 100-member body, appointed by the military, unanimously approved the 309-article draft presented by the 35-member Constitutional Drafting Committee in April. The new constitution is part of an effort …

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