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Legal news from Thursday, October 18, 2007
by Mike Rosen-Molina

European Union (EU) leaders reached agreement on the text of a proposed EU Reform Treaty at a summit in Lisbon early Friday local time, working through last minute objections by Poland and Italy. Much of the summit focused on reservations by those countries; observers said that the treaty could have been defeated if …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

US lawmakers apologized Thursday to Maher Arar, a Canadian engineer who was detained in the US in 2002 after flying to New York from Tunisia on his way home to Ottawa after a holiday and later deported to Syria, where he was tortured. Appearing by video before a joint hearing of the House Judiciary and …

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by Benjamin Klein

US Attorney General-nominee Michael Mukasey refused on the second day of his confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday to say whether he considers "waterboarding" — a technique that induces the effects of being drowned — to be a form of torture. Mukasey, a retired federal …

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by Nick Fiske

An employment non-discrimination bill protecting gays, lesbians, and bisexuals but not transgendered individuals has been sent to the full US House of Representatives for consideration after being approved by the House Education and Labor Committee Thursday. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act covers hiring and firing practices, the setting of compensation levels, and promotion …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The US Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday debated a draft bill that would grant immunity from prosecution to telecommunications companies that assisted in government eavesdropping between 2001 and 2007. The bill, which would amend the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, also includes a provision requiring the attorney general to certify that probable cause exists to …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

Turkey will hold a constitutional reform referendum on Sunday as scheduled, the Turkish Supreme Electoral Council said Wednesday. The referendum addresses a package of proposed reforms which include reducing the maximum parliamentary from five years to four; requiring a legislative voting quorum of one-third of Turkish MPs; reducing the presidential term from seven to five …

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by Alexis Unkovic

The military government of Myanmar Thursday said it will form a 54-member commission to draft a new national constitution as the next stage in its seven-step plan to move toward democratic rule. The commission reportedly will be comprised of both military and civilian officials and chaired by Chief Justice U Aung Toe. The …

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by Alexis Unkovic

Former Khmer Rouge official Nuon Chea on Thursday selected Dutch lawyer Michiel Pestman to serve as foreign counsel in his upcoming trial before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the ECCC said Thursday on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. …

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by Kiely Lewandowski

Rwandan genocide suspect Dominique Ntawukuriryayo has been arrested in France, a UN spokesperson said Thursday. Ntawukuriryayo, a former public official, had been on the run from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), where he has been charged with genocide, complicity in genocide and direct and public incitement to genocide. UN spokesperson Michelle …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The Supreme Court of Pakistan Wednesday dismissed concerns that President Pervez Musharraf would declare martial law if the court invalidates his disputed election victory, with the top presiding judge telling the court that such fears will not influence the court's decision making. The court is hearing arguments against Musharraf's re-election campaign …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The International Criminal Court (ICC) said Thursday that former Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) warlord Germain Katanga has been transferred to the court's detention center at The Hague. The ICC Office of the Prosecutor alleges that Katanga, the former senior commander of the Force …

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by Joshua Pantesco

House Democrats withdrew the RESTORE Act of 2007 ("Responsible Electronic Surveillance That is Overseen, Reviewed and Effective Act of 2007") from the House floor for consideration Wednesday after Republicans moved to attach an amendment to the bill which would have been politically awkward for Democrats to reject. The RESTORE Act is intended to …

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by Joshua Pantesco

FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin has circulated a schedule that calls for a final FCC vote in December on a proposal to relax media ownership rules. Under the current rules, a company may not own a television station and a newspaper in the same market, which is blocking Chicago investor Sam Zell from buying the …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US authorities have delivered Ali Hassan al-Majid, better known in Western media as "Chemical Ali," to a location near a prison gallows in Baghdad where he is expected to be transferred into Iraqi custody to be executed, an Iraqi police official said Wednesday. Al-Majid, a cousin of Saddam Hussein, was sentenced to death [JURIST …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto returned home to Pakistan Thursday after nine years of self-imposed exile in Great Britain and Dubai following corruption charges. Bhutto, who continued to lead the Pakistani People's Party during her exile, is a political rival of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, but Musharraf earlier this month …

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