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Legal news from Tuesday, August 21, 2007
by Mike Rosen-Molina

The Venezuelan National Assembly gave preliminary approval Tuesday to comprehensive constitutional reforms introduced by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez last week. No word was available on how many legislators voted for the reforms, but National Assembly president Cilia Flores said they received "majority approval." The proposed reforms extend the presidential term …

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by Leslie Schulman

The European Union (EU) on Tuesday urged Texas Gov. Rick Perry to halt all executions in the state, and to consider introducing a moratorium on death sentences in Texas. According to the statement from Portugal, acting as current Presidency of the EU:The European Union is unreservedly opposed to the use of capital punishment under …

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by Leslie Schulman

The US Defense Department's controversial Threat and Local Observation Notice system, or TALON database, will be discontinued on September 17 but the data it has collected will be retained in accordance with intelligence oversight requirements, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Gary Keck said Tuesday. Keck said that TALON is being suspended …

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by Leslie Schulman

Lawyers in Kenya are now ranked as the ninth most corrupt group in the country, according to the Kenya Bribery Index 2007, a report released Tuesday by Transparency International (TI). The annual Kenya Bribery Index has never in its previous five years of publication listed lawyers as top solicitors of bribes in Kenya. For the …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

An Indonesian court Tuesday dismissed a class action lawsuit that sought to dismantle the Indonesian police's anti-terror unit, ruling that the allegations that the department violated human rights by targeting Muslims and torturing suspects were too vague to proceed. The lawsuit was brought by Abu Bakar Bashir, a militant cleric who has been accused of being the …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on Tuesday upheld the conviction of former Illinois Gov. George Ryan on fraud and corruption charges, ruling that the district court judge acted properly when she replaced two jurors after it was discovered they had concealed their criminal backgrounds. Ryan may now begin his 6 1/2 …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

Lawyers for five Cubans jailed for spying in the United States urged a federal appeals court Monday to order a new trial in the case, arguing that the defendants were convicted on flimsy evidence. Lawyers representing the so-called Cuban Five - Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labanino and Gerardo Hernandez - also argued that their …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The Supreme People's Court of China has determined that the death penalty can be ordered in cases where a defendant is convicted of sabotaging electricity supply in a manner which leads to serious injury of at least three people or the death of at least one person. In a new judicial interpretation made …

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by Jeannie Shawl

US Army Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan has pleaded not guilty to cruelty and maltreatment and other charges stemming from the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal. Jordan is the only commissioned officer charged in connection to the abuse that occurred at the Iraqi prison. Before Jordan entered his plea Monday, prosecutors …

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by Jeannie Shawl

Lawyers for detained Iranian-American scholar Haleh Esfandiari have been informed that she will be released from custody once $320,000 in bail has been paid, an anonymous source from the Iranian judiciary said Tuesday. Though one of Esfandiari's lawyers told Reuters that he has not yet been informed that Esfandiari has been granted bail, the …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The Federal Court of Australia ruled Tuesday that Australian Immigration and Citizenship Minister Kevin Andrews improperly revoked the work visa of Mohammad Haneef, who was detained by Australian authorities last month in connection with the attempted UK car bomb terror attacks. Andrews revoked Haneef's work visa and placed him under "immigration detention" shortly …

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by Jeannie Shawl

Fifteen former Iraqi officials went on trial Tuesday for crimes against humanity for their role in attacks against the Iraqi civilian population following the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The defendants - including Saddam Hussein's cousin and former Iraqi defense minister Ali Hassan al-Majid, Hussein's personal secretary and bodyguard Abed Hameed Hmoud, former …

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