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Legal news from Tuesday, February 5, 2008
by Kiely Lewandowski

Myanmar continues to arrest and detain human rights activists, denying them fair trials in accordance with international principles, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro said Tuesday. In a statement, Pinheiro also expressed concern about reports that some detainees were in failing health …

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by Deirdre Jurand

A federal court of appeals judge struck down a 2003 agreement between Georgia and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) allowing the state's use of a federal water reservoir. Judge Judith Rogers of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the agreement violates the Water Supply …

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by Kiely Lewandowski

Russian lawyer and government critic Boris Kuznetsov applied for political asylum in the US Tuesday. Kuznetsov fled Russia in July 2007 after a court approved a criminal investigation against him for allegedly divulging state wiretapping secrets by turning over evidence to the Russian Constitutional Court that his client, former parliamentarian Levon Chakhmakhchyan, had …

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by Devin Montgomery

Retired Argentine General Cristino Nicolaides and five other former officers stood trial Tuesday for their alleged role in the abduction and torture of five political dissidents during the country's military dictatorship of the late 1970s and 80s. In December 2007, Nicolaides was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison for charges regarding another group of "disappeared" …

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by Caitlin Price

The CIA has used waterboarding "on only three detainees" since September 11, 2001, CIA Director Michael Hayden told the US Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday. Stipulating that the interrogation technique has not been used by the CIA in five years, Hayden for the first time named the men waterboarded: accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid …

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by Caitlin Price

US President George W. Bush will veto any terror surveillance legislation passed by Congress that does not include liability protection for telecom companies, a letter from Attorney General Michael Mukasey and National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell warned Congress Tuesday, according to AP. Last week, Bush signed a 15-day extension to the temporary Protect America Act [S 1927 …

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by Leslie Schulman

Uzbekistan authorities have granted a pardon to a journalist and Human Rights Watch (HRW) translator sentenced to prison, according to Tuesday reports. Umida Niyazova was sentenced to seven years after an Uzbek court convicted her last May of illegal border crossing, smuggling, and distributing propaganda allegedly supporting an extremist religious …

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by Caitlin Price

The Russian Supreme Court Tuesday rejected the appeal of former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov to reinstate his candidacy in the March Russian presidential election. Last week, the Russian Central Election Commission banned Kasyanov from running in the election, rejecting 13.36 percent of signatures he submitted in support …

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by Leslie Schulman

A defense lawyer representing four ex-officers of the former Rwandan army facing trials before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has accused Prosecutor Hassan Jallow of concealing evidence favorable to the defense, according to Monday media reports. Lawyer Christopher Black claims Jallow possesses witness statements indicating that Black's client, former Rwandan army general Augustin …

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by Leslie Schulman

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour Tuesday urged the Chadian government and rebel forces to follow humanitarian law and respect human rights as fighting continued for a fourth day after rebels entered the capital city of N'Djamena in an attempt to overthrow Chadian President Idriss Deby. An estimated 20,000 civilians have fled …

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by Michael Sung

Private government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) Tuesday urged US Attorney General Michael Mukasey to appoint a special counsel to investigate whether the White House had violated the Federal Records Act and the Presidential Records Act in failing to preserve millions of missing White House e-mails. …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Monday criticized a provision in the Bush administration's proposed $3 trillion FY09 budget that would fund the newly created Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) through the Department of Justice (DOJ) rather than through the National Archives and Records Administration as originally intended. OGIS …

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by Michael Sung

The Chinese government on Tuesday announced the release on parole of Hong Kong reporter Ching Cheong ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year. Ching, sentenced to five years in prison in 2006 for allegedly selling "state secrets and intelligence" to Taiwan, was the chief China correspondent for Singapore's Straits Times …

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by Michael Sung

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai is concerned about the imposition of the death penalty against journalism student Sayad Parwez Kambaksh but will not intervene in the case pending Kambaksh's appeal, a presidential spokesman said Tuesday. Under Article 64 of the Afghanistan Constitution, Afghanistan's president may reduce penalties and grant pardons in accordance with provisions of …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A federal judge on Monday upheld a jury verdict finding Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church [WARNING: readers may find some material offensive; BBC report] guilty of intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy for staging a protest at the funeral of Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder. Judge Richard Bennett of the …

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by Michael Sung

A Chinese court convicted dissident writer Lu Gengsong on subversion charges Tuesday, sentencing Lu to four years in prison for writing essays exposing corruption within the Communist Party of China (CPC). Lu was arrested last October and charged in January with "inciting subversion of state power." Lu's lawyer says they plan to appeal the conviction.In …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A federal district court on Monday rejected the Bush administration's attempt to exempt the US Navy from environmental laws so that the Navy could continue using sonar in its anti-submarine warfare training off the coast of southern California. Last month, President Bush issued a memorandum exempting the Navy from the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) …

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