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Legal news from Monday, July 16, 2007
by Leslie Schulman

Former Ugandan health minister Jim Muhwezi went to trial Monday on charges of embezzlement and abuse of office. Muhwezi is alleged to have misused $4.3 million in grants donated to the government of Uganda by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and the Immunization (GAVI) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria …

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by Leslie Schulman

Lance Cpl. Stephen Tatum admitted during a preliminary hearing Monday to killing Iraqis at Haditha in November 2005 but said he was acting pursuant to proper military protocol. Tatum is charged with unpremeditated murder, negligent homicide, and assault related to the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians. He asserts …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Judge Haley Fromholz of the Los Angeles Superior Court Monday approved a $660 million settlement between the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and plaintiffs in 508 outstanding clergy sex abuse lawsuits. Fromholz called the settlement "the right result" and applauded those who had worked to negotiate the deal over …

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by Michael Sung

Washington, DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Attorney General Linda Singer announced Monday that the city will appeal a ruling invalidating the District of Columbia's handgun ban to the US Supreme Court. The city has until August 7th to file an appeal with the high court and will be able to maintain the handgun ban …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Lawyers and human rights advocates called for more rigid procedures governing the investigation of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines at a Monday conference organized by the Supreme Court of the Philippines. Edelina dela Paz, chairwoman of human rights group Karapatan, called for a stronger witness protection program, pointing to the murder of a …

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by Michael Sung

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan Monday dismissed charges against 13 of 16 defendants in an ongoing criminal tax shelters case against former employees of the accounting firm KPMG, ruling that federal prosecutors violated the constitutional rights of the defendants by pressuring KPMG not to pay for the defendants' legal fees. Kaplan …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

A bipartisan group of 44 former US state attorneys general have asked the US House and Senate Judiciary Committees to investigate whether the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman (D), was politically motivated, according to Monday reports. Last month, Alabama attorney Jill Simpson, who had worked on the campaign of Siegelman's opponent, current …

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by Michael Sung

Pakistani government lawyer Sharifuddin Pirzada informed the Supreme Court of Pakistan Monday that prosecutors are dismissing a single charge of judicial misconduct against suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Pirzada said that President Pervez Musharraf made the decision, but did not specify the reasons behind it. Other unspecified charges of misconduct [JURIST …

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by Michael Sung

A spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Monday confirmed the impending Israeli release of 250 Palestinian prisoners belonging to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Movement and other minor factions. The release, approved by the Israeli cabinet last Sunday and expected to take place Friday, is an effort to strengthen the moderate Fatah …

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by Michael Sung

An Ethiopian court sentenced 35 opposition members to life in prison Monday for their roles in mass anti-government demonstrations. The opposition members, five of whom were sentenced in absentia were convicted last month of treason and inciting violence. Prosecutors had sought the death penalty. The court also sentenced six opposition members to sentences ranging from …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled Monday that spouses and unmarried partners of women who face inhumane treatment under rigid Chinese population control measures do not automatically qualify for asylum in the United States. The court said section 601(a) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 …

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by Michael Sung

Six opposition members and former constitutional delegates have criticized the efforts of the military government of Myanmar to reconvene negotiations on a new constitution. The six accused the military junta Sunday of handpicking most of the delegates to the country's National Convention to ensure it remains in power. Khun Myint Tun, a National League for Democracy …

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by Michael Sung

Antun Gudelj, a Croatian man convicted in 1994 of murdering three police officials who were trying to negotiate with Serb rebels opposed to Croatian independence in 1991, was extradited from Australia to Croatia on Sunday. Gudelj, who maintains he acted alone despite popular suspicion that he acted in concert with Croatian nationalist and former President Franjo Tudejman, …

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by Michael Sung

The US Defense Department announced Monday that 16 detainees have been transferred to Saudi Arabia from Guantanamo Bay Monday, bringing the total of repatriated Saudi detainees up to 77. The 16 will remain in custody pending Saudi investigations into whether they were linked to prohibited militant organizations. Saudi Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki told the …

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by Michael Sung

A federal judge has given preliminary approval to a $3.2 billion settlement agreement between Tyco International, Tyco's former auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers, and investors who were harmed by fraudulent accounting practices orchestrated by Tyco's former top executives. Judge Paul Barbadoro, however, said Friday that he will scrutinize the allocation of the settlement …

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by Michael Sung

Bangladeshi authorities arrested former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed following a raid on her home Monday, accusing Hasina of extorting approximately $1.16 million from two businessmen. Hasina is also accused of involvement in the political assassination of four rivals during her tenure in office from 1996 to 2001. Hasina has denied the allegations, and supporters …

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by Michael Sung

Peruvian Extradition Unit Chief Omar Chehade on Sunday criticized a Chilean court ruling denying a Peruvian request for the extradition of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, characterizing it as slanted and partial decision. Chehade also indicated that Peruvian officials may travel to Chile to discuss Peru's appeal of the extradition …

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