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Legal news from Thursday, August 2, 2007
by Brett Murphy

A senior Thai Justice Ministry official said Thursday that Thailand will renew a probe into the anti-drug campaign of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra during which close to 2,500 people were killed. Thaksin's war on drugs began in 2003 and gained great support from rural voters. The investigation will be headed …

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by Brett Murphy

A military court-martial jury Thursday found US Marine Corps Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins III guilty of murder for his role in the April 2006 kidnapping and murder of an Iraqi civilian in Hamdania. Hashim Ibrahim Awad was removed from his residence and killed. His body was subsequently …

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by Brett Murphy

The US Senate voted 83-14 in favor of a new ethics bill that will require congressmen and other officials to make public additional information about money involving personal projects and lobbies. The legislation also bans gifts from lobbies to lawmakers, and requires former senators and House-members to wait two years and one year respectively …

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by Brett Murphy

The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held Thursday that insurance policies held by many victims of Hurricane Katrina did not cover flood damage caused by the storm. Writing for a three-judge panel, Judge Carolyn King said that flood damage was excluded from coverage provided by a range of defendant …

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by Brett Murphy

Chinese Communist Party discipline commission spokesman Gan Yisheng said Thursday that China's use of capital punishment in political and economic corruption cases is appropriate and effective. Gan justified the punishment saying that it had "been endorsed by the Chinese people and also recognized by the international community." In July, China executed former State Food and Drug Administration commissioner Zheng …

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by Michael Sung

The Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal of Justice Wednesday suspended an order issued by the government's telecommunication commission requiring Radio Caracas Television (RCTV) to register as a "national audiovisual production service" or face shutdown after agreeing to hear a case on whether cable and satellite television channels are obligated to transmit government-mandated content. …

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by Brett Murphy

The US House Judiciary Committee approved new legislation on Wednesday shielding reporters from being compelled to disclose confidential sources. Under the bill, journalists could not be forced by prosecutors to reveal their informants unless a court determined that the public interest in disclosure outweighed the public interest in news gathering. Committee chairman Rep. John …

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by Brett Murphy

The UK Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) issued a report Thursday on the shooting death of Jean Charles de Menezes, an innocent Brazilian man mistaken for a terrorist by police in July 2005, clearing London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair of any misconduct but concluding that Assistant Commissioner Andrew Hayman [official …

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by Michael Sung

China's Shanxi province High People's Court announced the conviction of 31 defendants in 18 separate trials for their involvement in the use of slave labor at various brick kilns in the Shanxi and Henan provinces Thursday. The defendants were sentenced to between two to five-years in prison. Four government officials, convicted of dereliction of duty and abuse of authority, …

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by Brett Murphy

The US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court restricted the government's monitoring of e-mail and telephone conversations of suspected terrorists in foreign countries in a ruling publicly disclosed Thursday. According to US House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-OH), the ruling limits the ability of US agencies to monitor communications between two suspected terrorists …

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by Brett Murphy

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove refused to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday during the committee's seventh hearing on the Justice Department's firing of US Attorneys. Following President Bush's orders that White House staff not appear, Rove skipped the hearing altogether. …

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by Michael Sung

UK Conservative Party leader William J. Hague repeated his earlier call for a general referendum on the proposed EU Reform Treaty during an interview with BBC Radio 4 Thursday, saying that the reform treaty is essentially the same as the failed EU Constitution and threatens to …

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by Michael Sung

The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) convicted two former leaders of Sierra Leone's Civil Defense Forces militia Thursday, finding Moinina Fofana and Allieu Kondewa guilty on four counts of "murder, cruel treatment, pillage, and collective punishment." Kondewa was also convicted on an additional charge for the recruitment of …

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by Michael Sung

The Bangladeshi Appellate Division of the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed can be detained and prosecuted under emergency laws declared by the interim emergency government, overturning the High Court Division's Monday ruling that suspended Hasina's extortion trial. Hasina's lawyers had argued that she cannot be charged under …

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by Michael Sung

The High Court of Australia upheld an interim control order against Joseph Terrence Thomas Thursday, accepting the government's argument and ruling that the control order provision of a controversial anti-terror law is constitutional because it is supported by the government's "defense power". Australian Attorney General Philip Ruddock welcomed …

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by Brett Murphy

US District Judge Amy St. Eve ruled in Chicago Wednesday that Canadian-born financier and former media mogul Conrad Black may stay out on bail until his November 30 sentencing but denied a request to allow him to return to his home in Toronto. During the bail hearing, prosecutors argued that Black was a flight …

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by Michael Sung

Lawyers from the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a petition Wednesday under the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA) challenging the enemy combatant designation of Guantanamo Bay detainee Mohammed Sulaymon Barre, saying the US military violated governing rules of Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRT) by failing to present exculpatory evidence during Barre's CSRT review. The …

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by Michael Sung

The Congress of Guatemala voted to create the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) Wednesday, establishing an independent body to investigate organized crime and official corruption. The CICIG, which will be funded by voluntary international contributions, will be given independent authority to investigate local Guatemalan institutions. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon …

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by Michael Sung

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales sent a letter to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday in response to a request that Gonzales clarify testimony provided last week. Gonzales maintained that his testimony was truthful and that apparent contradictions stemmed from confusing language used to distinguish between undisclosed NSA intelligence …

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