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Legal news from Thursday, November 8, 2007
by Jeannie Shawl

The US Senate voted 53-40 late Thursday evening to confirm former federal judge Michael B. Mukasey as the 81st attorney general of the United States. The nomination was backed by the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this week by an 11-8 vote. Much of the opposition to Mukasey's nomination …

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by Leslie Schulman

Pakistani lawyers detained by the government under the declaration of emergency rule issued earlier this month by President Pervez Musharraf are being tortured, according to Asma Jahangir head of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. In a statement issued …

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by Benjamin Klein

A resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on the use of the death penalty has been introduced before the United Nations General Assembly. Over 70 states [co-sponsor list, XLS] have backed the proposal, which will be voted on by the Assembly next week. The draft resolution states that capital punishment "undermines human dignity," that "there is no …

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by Nick Fiske

Italy's highest court on Thursday upheld life sentences handed down to three former Nazi SS officers for their role in a massacre during WWII that left hundreds of Italian villagers in Tuscany dead. All three men are in their 80s and were members of an SS regiment that surrounded the village of Sant'Anna di Stazzema in August 1944 and …

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by Alexis Unkovic

The military junta in Myanmar Thursday agreed to allow opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to meet with fellow members of her political party Friday for the first time in three years. The announcement came after UN Special Envoy for Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari left the country following his six-day visit [UN press …

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by Alexis Unkovic

Malcolm W. Nance, a former Navy interrogation instructor and counterterrorism intelligence specialist, said Thursday that the practice of waterboarding "is torture and should be banned," during a hearing held by the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties of the US House Judiciary Committee. Nance said he both underwent waterboarding during …

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by Steve Czajkowski

The man believed to be the commander of the Irish Republican Army was arrested Wednesday night and charged Thursday with nine counts of tax evasion, totaling $3.7 million. Thomas "Slab" Murphy is believed to be the chief of staff of the IRA. He was arrested by detectives from the Criminal Assets Bureau, a …

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by Alexis Unkovic

The UK Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) Thursday published a report on its investigation into the fatal shooting of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes in a London Tube station by officers of the Metropolitan Police Service who mistakenly believed he was a suspect in the 2005 London transit bombing …

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by Kiely Lewandowski

Zimbabwean Attorney General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele has been charged with corrupt conduct for allegedly contacting a fugitive, Zimbabwean police said Thursday. Gula-Ndebele is charged with violating the Criminal Law (Codification Reform) Act for doing "anything contrary to or inconsistent with a duty as a Public Officer" and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted on the corruption charges. …

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by Kiely Lewandowski

The man who shot and paralyzed former Alabama Governor George Wallace in 1972 will be released from a Maryland prison Friday, according to an alert from an automated victim-notification system Thursday. Prison officials have refused to publicly confirm the release date due to security reasons. Arthur Bremer, who has served 35 years of his 53-year …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The Russian Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Tsar Nicholas II and his family were murdered by Bolshevik revolutionaries in 1918, and therefore not eligible for legal rehabilitation. The decision upholds a September determination by Russia's Prosecutor General which said that the Tsar could not be …

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by Lisl Brunner

Argentinian President Nestor Kirchner dedicated a new monument to victims of the 1976-83 Dirty War in Buenos Aires on Wednesday. The monument, on which the names of thousands of victims are engraved, sits beside the Rio de la Plata, where drugged prisoners who were suspected of "subversion" were thrown to their deaths. Kirchner used …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal ruled Thursday that warrants for documents seized from former Deputy President Jacob Zuma were lawfully obtained, and could be used against him in any potential corruption trial. The court heard arguments in the case, filed by the country's National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), in …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Pakistani prosecutors on Thursday charged four activists with treason, the first such charges brought under the declaration of emergency rule implemented by President Pervez Musharraf on Saturday. The four activists, who are in detention following a series of arrests made this week by Pakistani police, were charged with making anti-Musharraf speeches in the southern city …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US military forces in Iraq released 500 detainees at a joint ceremony with the Iraqi government on Thursday at Camp Victory outside Baghdad. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, speaking to the newly released detainees on Thursday, said the release is part of an effort to harmonize relations between the Shiite and Sunni populations. Sunnis claim that …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Serb nationalist leader and war crimes defendant Vojislav Seselj used his opening statement at his trial Thursday to call the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) "illegal and illegitimate," and accused the court of an impermissible bias against Serb defendants. Seselj, accused of establishing rogue paramilitary units responsible for massacring and …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Bangladesh police on Wednesday arrested an associate of former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia on suspicion of instigating street demonstrations in violation of the ban on assembly, one of the freedoms restricted in January when the military government declared a state of emergency. Hannan Shah, a former military officer and an outspoken member …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Louisiana Attorney General Charles C. Foti filed suit in state court Wednesday against the state's six largest insurance companies, including Allstate and State Farm, alleging the companies conspired to fix payouts for damages related to Hurricane Katrina in violation of the Louisiana Monopolization Act. According to Foti's statement, as reported by the Times-Picayune:This alleged …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday denounced the state of emergency imposed Wednesday in the neighboring Georgian Republic as "a gross violation of human rights and democratic freedom." Russia urged the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the international community to call on Georgia to "fully …

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