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Legal news from Tuesday, October 9, 2007
by Alexis Unkovic

Democrats in the US House of Representatives introduced a draft bill Tuesday designed to "modernize" the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The so-called RESTORE Act of 2007 ("Responsible Electronic Surveillance That is Overseen, Reviewed and Effective Act of 2007") would increase court oversight of the Terrorist Surveillance Program [DOJ fact …

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by Devin Montgomery

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour on Tuesday urged Afghanistan to reinstate a moratorium on executions. Afghanistan executed 15 prisoners by firing squad Sunday and Arbour said that "the circumstances of the executions may constitute a breach of Afghanistan's obligations under international law." Arbour's comments follow a statement …

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by Melissa Bancroft

US District Judge Gladys Kessler of the DC District Court has directly intervened to block the transfer of a Guantanamo Bay detainee to Tunisia, where he faced the threat of torture. In her decision last week, which was not made public until Tuesday, Kessler granted a preliminary injunction preventing the Defense Department …

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by Melissa Bancroft

The corruption and violence permeating the Nigerian government have reached crisis levels, according to a report issued Tuesday by Human Rights Watch (HRW). Comparing the behavior of the Nigerian government to a criminal organization, the HRW report said that politicians use hired thugs to intimidate voters and critics, often staying in office for years …

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by Melissa Bancroft

The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) Tuesday sentenced two former leaders of Sierra Leone's Civil Defense Forces (CDF) - Moinina Fofana and Allieu Kondewa - to six and eight years imprisonment, respectively. The sentences will run from the date they were initially imprisoned in 2003. Fofana and Kondewa …

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by Devin Montgomery

Pennsylvania's death penalty system is so flawed that it has denied defendants of due process and could result in wrongful executions, the American Bar Association death penalty assessment team said Tuesday. The team's report identified several problems with the Pennsylvania system, including a failure to ensure …

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by Caitlin Price

Party allies of opposition leader and democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi Tuesday renewed calls for unconditional talks between Suu Kyi and junta leader Senior General Than Shwe. Members of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) urged the military government to drop its condition that Suu Kyi abandon support for international sanctions …

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by Caitlin Price

The Rhode Island Supreme Court Tuesday heard arguments in a case on whether a lesbian couple legally married in Massachusetts has the right to divorce in Rhode Island. In Chambers v. Ormiston, Rhode Island residents Cassandra Ormiston and Margaret Chambers are seeking to end their 2004 Massachusetts marriage. Lawyers for …

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by Caitlin Price

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in Stoneridge Investment v. Scientific-Atlanta, 06-43, to determine when a "secondary" actor in securities fraud, such as a bank, lawyer, or accountant, can be treated as a "primary" actor in terms of shared liability for the actions. The …

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by Alexis Unkovic

A military court in Jordan Tuesday sentenced Dr. Ahmad Oweidi al-Abbadi, a former member of parliament and head of the Jordanian National Movement, to two years in prison after convicting him on charges that included slandering officials, harming the government's reputation, and violating government laws regarding e-mail practices. The charges stem from …

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by James M Yoch Jr

Approximately 40 inmates in a Tanzania prison awaiting trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) began a hunger strike Monday to protest the planned transfer of three ICTR cases to the national courts of Rwanda. In September, the ICTR prosecutor asked the tribunal to transfer the cases so that the prosecution could be completed before …

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by James M Yoch Jr

The US Supreme Court on Tuesday denied without comment the petition for certiorari filed by Khaled el-Masri against the US government, ostensibly supporting the Bush administration's contention that allowing el-Masri's lawsuit to proceed would require the revelation of state secrets. El-Masri, a German national of Lebanese descent, claims …

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by James M Yoch Jr

The Iraqi government intends to oust Blackwater USA, the private security firm involved in a September shooting incident, from its borders over the next six months, according to a report complied by Iraqi authorities and the Iraqi National Police. The report, which is the culmination of an investigation by the Iraqi government into …

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by Jaime Jansen

European laws need to be strengthened in order to more effectively fight organized crime throughout Europe, Italian prosecutor Nicola Gratteri said Monday. Gratteri is investigating the August slayings of six Italians in Duisburg, Germany, widely believed to be the result of a decades-old feud involving the Italian 'ndrangheta mob. Gratteri noted that 'ndrangheta has spread …

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by Jaime Jansen

Serbian police arrested 56 neo-Nazis for protesting the potential independence of Kosovo from Serbia despite a ban against their planned demonstration, Serbian police said Monday. The arrests were made after fighting broke out Sunday between the neo-Nazis protesters and a group of anti-fascists, who were holding a counter-protest. The anti-fascist organizers accused Serbian police of failing …

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by Jaime Jansen

American Electric Power (AEP) has settled a lawsuit for $4.6 billion with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 12 environmental groups and eight northeastern states. The settlement is expected to be formally announced Tuesday, the same day the lawsuit was set to go to trial. Under the terms of the settlement, which must be approved by …

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