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Legal news from Friday, October 19, 2007
by Eric Firkel

White House Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto attempted Friday to deflect widespread criticism of US Attorney General-nominee Michael Mukasey's refusal to say whether he considers waterboarding a form of torture during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Thursday. Mukasey refused to be pinned down on the issue, merely suggesting …

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by Josh Camson

Seymour Lazar pleaded guilty Thursday to obstruction of justice, subscribing to a false tax return and making a false declaration for his role in the Milberg Weiss kickback scheme where the firm is accused of paying up to $11.3 million in illegal kickbacks since 1984 to individuals, including Lazar, to serve as lead plaintiffs in class action …

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by Patrick Porter

The Georgia Supreme Court granted a stay of execution Thursday to convicted killer Jack Alderman. The death row inmate was scheduled to die Friday at 7PM ET and had already selected his last meal. The court said it granted the stay pending a US Supreme Court ruling in Baze v. Rees (07-5439)[docket; cert. petition, …

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by Patrick Porter

Former US military police commander Lt. Col. William Steele was sentenced to two years in prison Friday after being convicted of unauthorized possession of classified documents, failing to obey an order, and conduct unbecoming an officer by having an inappropriate relationship with an interpreter. Earlier Friday, Steele was found not guilty of more serious charges …

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by Jaime Jansen

UK lawmakers will investigate whether the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has secretly held terror suspects on a sovereign British territory in the Indian Ocean, the Guardian reported Friday. The House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee will look into the long-standing allegations of interrogations by the CIA on the island of Diego Garcia, which …

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by Jaime Jansen

Serbian police arrested four members of the Scorpions paramilitary group suspected of crimes committed in Kosovo during Serbia's 1998-1999 war with ethnic Albanian separatists, the Serbian Interior Ministry announced Friday. Several members of the Scorpions, one of the most brutal paramilitary groups active in the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s, have already …

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by Jaime Jansen

The Canadian government is trying to derail a lawsuit over whether the Canadian Army in Afghanistan is transferring custody of detainees to Afghan forces to face torture by bogging it down with a flurry of technical arguments, Amnesty International Canada said Thursday. Amnesty and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association brought complaints against …

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by Jaime Jansen

Former Argentinian coast guard officer Hector Febres went on trial Thursday on charges of kidnapping and torturing four people at the Navy Mechanics School during Argentina's Dirty War. If convicted, Febres faces life in prison. Last week, an Argentinean court sentenced former military chaplain Christian von Wernich [Trial Watch profile; JURIST …

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by Jaime Jansen

Israeli military Brigadier General Yair Golan received a reprimand Thursday after an investigation by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) into allegations that Golan improperly used Palestinians as human shields. Golan, commander of the West Bank army division, will not be promoted for at least the next nine months as part of his reprimand. …

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by Jaime Jansen

The first military officer to face court-martial for aiding the enemy since the 2003 Iraq invasion was found not guilty Friday of aiding the enemy by providing a cellular phone to detainees. Former US military police commander Lt. Col. William Steele was convicted on three lesser charges of unauthorized possession of classified documents, …

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