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Legal news from Tuesday, December 18, 2007
by Mike Rosen-Molina

Russia's December parliamentary elections were riddled with corruption and fraud, corruption watchdog Transparency International and Russian human rights group Golos said Tuesday. The agencies cited instances of official pressure on voters and suspiciously high turnout figures in a Moscow news conference questioning the integrity of the election. They said that in some instances, election officials were punished …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

Ayodele Fayose, the former governor of the Nigerian state of Ekiti has been arraigned on corruption charges in Nigeria, court officials said Tuesday. Fayose is accused of embezzling 1.2 billion naira in state funds, among other charges. He was arrested last week after surrendering himself to Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The Hungarian parliament Monday voted 185 to 164 to recognize civil partnerships between same-sex couples, giving them the same inheritance, tax, and financial rights as married heterosexual couples. Same-sex couples will not, however, be able to adopt children. Nine parliamentarians abstained from voting. The new law will take effect in January 2009. Reuters has more.Same-sex …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The UN General Assembly Tuesday voted 104-54 with 29 abstentions in favor of a resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty. Though non-binding, supporters of the resolution believe international opinion against capital punishment is growing. The US voted against the resolution, joining with Syria, Iran, …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The European Court of Justice ruled against a Swedish trade union Tuesday, finding that it illegally blocked a Latvian construction company from completing a job in Sweden when the company refused to pay its Latvian workers higher Swedish wages. The Court held that unions cannot force foreign companies to observe local wage …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Tuesday voted to relax media ownership rules, overturning a 32-year-old rule barring media companies from owning both a newspaper and a television station in any one of the top 20 media markets in the nation. Passed in 1975, the original rule was intended to foster competition and …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

A US military judge ruled Monday that Yemeni Guantanamo Bay detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan is due a hearing to settle his alleged status as a prisoner of war (POW) under the Geneva Conventions and that the determination by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) that he was an "enemy combatant" …

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by Bernard Hibbitts

The Election Commission of Pakistan has refused to consider an appeal by former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif against an earlier ruling declaring him ineligible to run in January 8 parliamentary elections, Pakistani media reported Tuesday, quoting a commission spokesman. The basis for the appeal's rejection was not immediately made public, but …

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by Jeannie Shawl

A Guatemalan court has ruled that former dictator Efrain Rios Montt and other high ranking military officers cannot be extradited to Spain where they have been charged with genocide, torture, and other crimes against humanity. In last week's decision, which was not made public until Monday, the court said that Spain does not have jurisdiction over crimes …

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by Jeannie Shawl

US District Judge Henry H. Kennedy, Jr. said Tuesday that he will hold a hearing to consider whether the CIA's destruction of videotapes showing the interrogation of terror suspects violated a 2005 court order. Lawyers representing several Guantanamo Bay detainees filed an emergency motion earlier this month asking Kennedy to look into the …

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by Bernard Hibbitts

Pakistani police used batons and tear gas Monday against protesters attempting to march to the Islamabad residence of ousted Pakistani Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, still under virtual house arrest despite the December 15 lifting of President Pervez Musharraf's declaration of emergency rule. Some 200 lawyers, students and activists chanting anti-Musharraf slogans and calling for the …

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by Devin Montgomery

US federal prosecutions and convictions of law enforcement officers for alleged brutality have significantly increased in recent years, USA Today reported Tuesday, citing unspecified US Department of Justice statistics. The figures indicated that prosecutions for the use of excessive force or other violations of victims' civil rights had risen 25 percent from 224 to 281 in 2001-2007 compared to …

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by Jeannie Shawl

A Lebanese court handed down sentences Tuesday for two defendants convicted of attempted mass murder for their role in a 2006 plot to blow up trains in Germany. Youssef al-Haj Deeb, currently in custody in Germany, was sentenced in absentia to life in prison and Jihad Hamad was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Three other defendants …

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by Jeannie Shawl

US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Monday that a Senate vote on whether to extend immunity to telecommunications companies from lawsuits related to their participation in the NSA warrantless surveillance program would be delayed until after the Senate returns from the holiday recess. Reid said that there would not be enough time …

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by Devin Montgomery

Hungary became the first EU member to ratify the new Treaty of Lisbon when the Hungarian National Assembly voted 325-5 Monday in favor of the treaty. Fourteen assembly members abstained from the vote. Leaders from the 27 European Union member countries signed the EU reform treaty last week, but all member …

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