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Legal news from Wednesday, September 19, 2007
by Mike Rosen-Molina

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Tennessee's execution procedures constitute "cruel and unusual" punishment, derailing plans to execute a death row inmate next week. US District Judge Aleta Trauger held that revised death penalty protocols, devised by the Tennessee Department of Corrections in April at the request of Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen [official …

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by Caitlin Price

Canadian Liberal Party opposition leader Stephane Dion Wednesday joined calls urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to pressure the US government for the immediate release of Canadian Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr. Following a meeting with lawyers appointed to represent Khadr in his hearing before a military commission review court …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

A Japanese district court Wednesday rejected demands for compensation by 22 South Korean women, as well as the surviving relatives of other women, who were forced to work at a Japanese military hardware factory during World War II. Although the Toyama District Court recognized that the women were brought to Japan and forced to work at …

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by Lisl Brunner

The Supreme Court of Argentina has ordered the government to provide the indigenous people of the Chaco region with basic necessities while it investigates claims that their land has been illegally sold to commercial farmers. The amparo action, brought by the office of the Defender of the People, alleged …

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by Caitlin Price

US President George W. Bush Wednesday urged Congress to make permanent a law broadening the government's ability to conduct warrantless surveillance of terror suspects abroad, echoing recent statements by intelligence officials. The Protect America Act 2007, passed by Congress in August, gives the executive branch expanded surveillance authority for …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev Wednesday called for a national referendum on amending the Kyrgyzstan constitution to elect parliament members by party list rather than by direct election, saying such a change would help defeat a "constitutional deadlock." Critics say the change would hurt smaller parties and independent politicians in Kyrgyzstan, …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

A measure in the US Senate that would have overturned the current ban on habeas corpus petitions for detainees at Guantanamo Bay was unable to achieve the 60 votes needed to cut off debate Wednesday. Sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), the bill would have amended the …

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by Brett Murphy

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Tuesday urged the government of Turkey to remove the current ban on the wearing of headscarves at state universities, saying that the ban effectively denies some Muslim women access to higher education. Erdogan, whose Muslim-rooted AK Party promised a new constitution after winning elections earlier this year, …

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by Caitlin Price

A Zimbabwean parliamentary debate on a draft constitutional amendment bill that could essentially give Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe the authority to appoint his successor concluded without challenge Tuesday. Floor debate lasted only one day, and the swift conclusion was dubbed an "historical collaboration" by state television network ZTV. The proposed changes would allow parliament to …

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by Brett Murphy

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the US and nine other countries to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty on Tuesday, saying that the ratification would "move us toward the larger goals of ridding the world of nuclear weapons and preventing their proliferation." UN diplomats said that US leadership is essential to finishing the deal, …

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by Joshua Pantesco

German Minister of Justice Brigitte Zypries on Tuesday proposed adding two new criminal offenses to Germany's anti-terrorism law in the wake of the September 4 arrest of three suspected Islamic militants who are accused of planning a series of car bombings. The first proposed offense, "preparing an act of …

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by Lisl Brunner

Protesters in Buenos Aires on Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of Jorge Julio Lopez, who is believed to have been kidnapped after testifying against Miguel Etchecolatz in the latter's trial for crimes committed during Argentina's Dirty War. Lopez, 77, had testified that he was abducted in …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Cambodian officials on Tuesday arrested former Khmer Rouge official Nuon Chea and escorted him to a hearing before the co-investigating judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the court established to try former Khmer Rouge leaders. At the hearing, the court charged Chea with crimes against humanity and …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Former Milberg Weiss partner William S. Lerach has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice charges in a plot in which Milberg Weiss allegedly paid up to $11.3 million in illegal kickbacks since 1984 to individuals to serve as lead plaintiffs in class action and shareholder derivative lawsuits. As part of the plea deal, Lerach …

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