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Legal news from Thursday, December 6, 2007
by Bernard Hibbitts

Pakistani Attorney General Malik Qayyum has reversed a decision to cut the size of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the wake of the November 3 declaration of emergency, according to Pakistan's News daily Thursday. Qayyum told the News that he was acting at the behest of new Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar, who …

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by Steve Czajkowski

The US Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday approved a bipartisan bill that would allow television coverage of all open US Supreme Court hearings. The Sunshine in the Courtroom Act of 2007 would permit the Supreme Court to televise all open sessions, unless there is a majority vote amongst the justices that coverage in …

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by Alexis Unkovic

Russia has extradited an Uzbek man sought on charges of religious extremism to his native Uzbekistan in defiance of a request by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), a representative from the Russian advocacy group Civic Assistance said Thursday. The ECHR had formally requested that Russia refrain from deporting Abdugani Kamaliyev until after …

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by Benjamin Klein

The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled Thursday that Shirley Phelps-Roper, a member of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church [WARNING: readers may find material at this church website offensive; BBC report], is entitled to a preliminary injunction preventing the enforcement of a Missouri state statute banning protesters from picketing near funerals …

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by Alexis Unkovic

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte said Thursday she will work to block a formal signing of the European Union's pre-membership deal with Serbia if the country does not apprehend fugitive former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic and turn him over to The …

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by Kiely Lewandowski

US House and Senate negotiators agreed Thursday to remove language that would broaden federal hate crimes legislation from a defense reauthorization bill currently being finalized in Congress. In September, the Senate approved an amendment to the 2008 Defense Reauthorization Bill that would have expanded hate crimes laws to cover violent attacks against people based …

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by Alexis Unkovic

A US Army major testified Thursday at a pretrial hearing to determine whether Yemeni Guantanamo Bay detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan qualifies as an unlawful enemy combatant, describing the circumstances under which Hamdan was taken into custody in Afghanistan in November 2001. If Hamdan, allegedly a driver for Osama bin Laden …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Alaskan state officials said Wednesday that they are presently building a civil case against oil giant BP for two oil spills in Prudhoe Bay in March and August of 2006. The announcement by the environmental division of the Alaska Department of Law comes less than a week after BP subsidiary BP Exploration Alaska (BPXA) pleaded …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Corrupt police and court systems are the most common institutions to demand bribes, according to a report released Thursday by Berlin-based corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI). The TI Global Corruption Barometer 2007 found that globally "25 per cent of respondents who came in contact with the police were asked to pay …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Riot police and blockades prevented former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and hundreds of supporters from marching Thursday to the home of ousted Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, who has been under virtual house arrest since Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's November 3 declaration of emergency rule. Sharif and his supporters disbanded peacefully. Meanwhile lawyers …

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by Lisl Brunner

Bolivian President Evo Morales has proposed a national referendum on whether he and the country's nine provincial governors should remain in office in response to accusations that the process of creating a new constitution has been illegitimate. Although the text was approved last week by the Bolivian Constituent Assembly, simultaneous …

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by Joshua Pantesco

UK Home Secretary Jacqui Smith on Thursday proposed extending the current time limit for the detention of terrorist suspects before charges are filed to 42 days, up from the current limit of 28 days. Smith's proposal follows statements made last June by former UK Home Secretary John Reid calling for longer pre-charge time …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A Bush administration rule aimed at preventing urban forest fires was struck down as arbitrary and capricious by a three-judge panel for the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Wednesday, drawing praise from environmental groups. The rule would have exempted from environmental review any logging project covering less than 1,000 acres and …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The number of journalists behind bars decreased from 134 in 2006 to 127 at the end of 2007, according to a year-end report issued by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Wednesday. China incarcerates the most journalists with 29 currently in prison, followed by Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, and Azerbaijan. The report also found that …

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by Joshua Pantesco

CIA interrogators may be restricted to using only those interrogation techniques explicitly authorized by the 2006 Army Field Manual if US House and Senate lawmakers succeed in adding the restriction to an upcoming intelligence funding bill, aides working on the bill told AP under condition of anonymity on Wednesday. Army interrogation guide Field Manual 2-22.3 …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Over seven million men and women were in prison, in jail or on probation or parole in the US in 2006, accounting for 3.2 percent of the total US adult population, or 1 in every 31 adults, according to a report released by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday. Five million of those …

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