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Legal news from Monday, October 29, 2007
by Leslie Schulman

The Canadian government Monday rejected fresh allegations that members of the Taliban captured by Canadian troops in Afghanistan were tortured by Afghan investigators after being transferred from Canadian custody. According to Montreal's La Presse, three prisoners said they were tortured by Afghan authorities after receiving assurances from Canadian officials them that Afghanistan no longer …

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by Howard Kline

UN Special Rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak said Monday that torture was widespread and routine throughout Sri Lanka. Nowak visited Sri Lanka in early October and reported to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly that torture has become pervasive in the country's counter-terrorism procedures. While Sri Lanka had attempted …

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by Leslie Schulman

The US Department of State has sheltered bodyguards working for private security firm Blackwater USA from prosecution related to a September shooting incident in Baghdad, according to AP on Monday. The guards, who allegedly fired on civilians, killing 17 and prompting the Iraqi government to withdraw Blackwater's operating license [JURIST …

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by Kiely Lewandowski

Former Milberg Weiss partner William Lerach pleaded guilty to conspiracy Monday for his part in the firm's illegal kickback scheme. Lerach reached an agreement with prosecutors last month to plead guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice and will forfeit $7.75 million to the government, pay a $250,000 fine, and serve one to two …

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by Leslie Schulman

An Italian appeals court on Monday affirmed the conviction of Egyptian Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed for belonging to an international terrorist network, but reduced his sentence from ten years to eight. Ahmed was convicted on charges separate from those brought against him for his role in the 2004 Madrid train bombings. Prosecutors had alleged …

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by Lisl Brunner

The government of Peru plans to file a complaint against Chile with the International Court of Justice seeking resolution of the countries' maritime boundary dispute in November or December, el Comercio reported Monday. While Peruvian Minister of External Relations Jose Antonia Garcia Belaunde informed his Chilean counterpart of the government's decision …

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by Leslie Schulman

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday in Ali v. Federal Bureau of Prison, 06-9130, to determine whether a Federal Tort Claims Act exception barring claims for detained property against "law enforcement officers" includes federal prison officials who seized a Muslim prisoner's Korans and …

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by Brett Murphy

A group of senior lawyers from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) have sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon urging the promotion of the current ICTY deputy prosecutor, American David Tolbert, to ICTY chief prosecutor when Carla Del Ponte steps down from the position at the …

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by Katerina Ossenova

The US Supreme Court granted certiorari Monday in a dispute over the punitive damages to be paid by Exxon Mobil for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Exxon Mobil and its shipping subsidiary have been ordered to pay $2.5 billion in punitive damages for the spill of 11 million gallons …

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by Brett Murphy

US Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Sunday that unless US Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey clarifies that he believes waterboarding is torture, Graham will consider opposing Mukasey's nomination. Speaking on CBS News' Face The Nation, Graham said that if Mukasey does not express opposition to the use of waterboarding, it will raise serious …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed on Monday denied accusations of corruption during questioning by officials from the country's anti-corruption commission, according to Hasina's lawyer. Hasina was questioned at the converted prison where she has been held since her July arrest on charges that she allegedly extorted approximately …

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by Jaime Jansen

Several human rights groups have challenged Israel's decision to reduce fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip and its plan to cut the electricity supply, saying Sunday that the move could create a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Gisha and nine other human rights groups requested an injunction from the the Israeli Supreme Court Sunday, …

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by Jaime Jansen

Two Egyptian journalists and an opposition leader have been sentenced to a month in prison after being convicted in absentia of libel, court officials said Sunday. The journalists, Anwar el-Hawari and Younes Darwish, of opposition party Al-Wafd's daily newspaper and Al-Wafd leader Mahmoud Abaza, have appealed the verdict and remain free on bail. Two lawyers from the ruling National …

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by Jaime Jansen

The American Bar Association (ABA) said Monday that there are serious flaws in the fairness and accuracy of several state death penalty systems, and called for a nationwide moratorium on executions. The ABA task force studied eight sample states - Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee - and …

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