[JURIST] Agents of former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], were sentenced Friday for their role in the revenge killings of three political dissidents. Fifteen people were convicted in connection with the killings, which came after an unsuccessful assassination attempt on the dictator in 1986. The prison terms range from five to 18 years with the highest sentence given to Alvaro Corbalan. Corbalan is a retired army major and former operative chief of the National Information Center [FAS backgrounder], Pinochet's security service. He and many others who were sentenced are presently in prison on other human rights violations committed during Pinochet's 1973-90 dictatorship.
According to details from the court, the 15 security agents picked up Jose Carrasco, and the two other dissidents at their homes on September 7, 1986 and then killed them in retaliation for the assassination attempt. A subsequent investigation showed that the victims were killed because they were known to be members of leftist groups, and that they were not involved with the attack on Pinochet. Pinochet died of a heart attack [JURIST report] in December 2006 without ever facing trial on multiple charges of tax evasion and human rights violations. AP has more.
[JURIST] Six French aid workers were flown back to France Friday after they were sentenced to eight years of hard labor [JURIST report] by a Chadian court earlier in the week for attempting to kidnap 103 African children. The workers, affiliated with the Zoe's Ark [advocacy website] charity, were returned a day after the French Foreign Ministry formally requested [press release, in French; JURIST report] that Chadian authorities transfer them to a French prison. The request was made under the 1976 France-Chad Agreement on Judicial Matters [PDF text], which allows for transfer of trials and sentences between the nations. The French judicial system does not include hard labor sentences so the aid workers will likely serve their sentences in French prison.
The aid workers claimed that they were attempting to airlift orphaned children [JURIST news archive] from the war-torn Sudanese region of Darfur to safety in Europe, but investigations revealed that most of the children were not actually orphans. Last month, Chad released three Spanish air crew and a Belgian pilot [JURIST report] held in Chad in connection with the attempted airlift. Three Chadians and one Sudanese national are also facing trial in Chad for complicity in kidnapping and fraud. AP has more.
[JURIST] The interim parliament in Nepal [JURIST news archive] voted Friday to end the nearly 240-year-old monarchy and to turn the nation into a republic. The vote supported an agreement [JURIST report] reached earlier this week by representatives of Nepal's leading political parties to abolish the country's monarchy as part of a plan to bring members of Communist Party of Nepal - Maoists (CPN-M) [party website] back into the country's government. The decision was passed by a majority of 270 votes in the 329-seat parliament, with only three votes against it. The removal of the king would take place only after elections for a special assembly, which are to be held in April of next year.
Nepal's Maoist Communists left Nepal's interim government [JURIST news archive] in protest in September and have been boycotting future elections over the monarchy issue. They insist the monarchy should be scrapped as Nepal transitions to a republic. The current monarch, King Gyanendra [BBC profile], gained political notoriety in 2005 when he dissolved the civilian government and seized power [JURIST report] himself. A High-Level Probe Commission later concluded [JURIST report] that Gyanendra and some 200 members of his administration were responsible for violent response to pro-democracy protests that left 22 dead and more than 5,000 wounded before the King relinquished governmental control. AP has more. eKantipur.com has local coverage.
[JURIST] The Taiwan High Court [official website] on Friday upheld the acquittal [press release, in Chinese] of former Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou [personal website, in Chinese] on graft charges, clearing the way for Ma to run in Taiwan's presidential elections in March 2008. Ma was acquitted earlier this year by a lower court on charges [JURIST reports] that he diverted $333,000 of public money into his private back account. Prosecutors appealed the verdict and brought an additional breach of trust charge against Ma, but were unsuccessful in both efforts. Ma had denied the charges [JURIST report], arguing that the practice was legitimate because he used the money to fund municipal events and pay city employees.
Allegations of corruption have recently been raised against other Taiwanese officials, including Vice President Annette Lu [JURIST report]. She has pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to allegations that she claimed 5.6 million Taiwan dollars in special expenses using more than 1,000 false receipts from December 2000 to May 2006 in her capacity as vice president. AP has more.
Johnson said last week that the White House prefers a single unified national standard to a state-by-state network of regulations. The Energy Independence and Security Act will require automakers to reach an industry-wide average fuel efficiency for cars, SUVs and small trucks of 35 miles per gallon by 2020. This is the first time that the EPA has denied California a waiver since Congress established the state's right to seek Clean Air Act waivers in 1967 and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said California will appeal the decision [statement text]. The Baltimore Sun has more.
Feedroll provides free Paper Chase news boxes with headlines or digests precisely tailored to your website's look and feel, with content updated every 15 minutes. Customize and get the code.
Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.