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Legal news from Friday, February 8, 2008
by Eric Firkel

Kenyan Minister of Internal Security George Saitoti Friday lifted a ban on public assembly in the strife-torn country, saying that "security has generally improved." The ban was imposed after violent protests broke out following December's contested presidential election, killing 1,000 people and displacing some 250,000 more. The announcement came as former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan …

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by Steve Czajkowski

A Spanish National Court judge Friday blocked two Basque political parties from fielding candidates in Spain's March general elections, ruling that the parties were connected to ETA, the armed Basque separatist movement. Judge Baltasar Garzon found that Batasuna, ETA's banned political arm, had used the Basque Nationalist Action Party (ANV) …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown Friday rejected a suggestion by the nation's highest Christian cleric that UK Muslims be given an option to resolve some civil disputes under Sharia law rather than UK law. Speaking to the BBC, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams appeared to agree that limited application of Sharia …

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by Eric Firkel

The Paris appeals court Friday ordered accused "rogue trader" Jerome Kerviel held in custody while an investigation continues into $73 billion worth of unauthorized trades he allegedly made while working for French bank Societe Generale. The court granted a request by prosecutors to hold Kerviel in "provisional detention" to …

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by Steve Czajkowski

The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit Friday ruled that the "cap-and-trade" policy, to be implemented in 2010 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate electrical power plant mercury emissions, is effectively invalid. The policy would permit power plants whose mercury emissions exceed the regulatory cap to buy "credits" from …

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by Patrick Porter

A French court Friday sentenced Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of France's far-right National Front party, for making public comments minimizing the World War II Nazi occupation of France. The charges stem from a 2005 interview with the right-wing weekly magazine Rivarol, in which Le …

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by Patrick Porter

Court-martial proceedings began Friday for US Army sniper Sgt. Evan Vela, charged in connection with the killings of unarmed Iraqi civilians near Iskandariyah. In opening statements, Vela's lawyer said that he was only following a superior's orders and that Vela was sleep-deprived and unable to think clearly on the morning of one of the killings. He …

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by Patrick Porter

The Nebraska Supreme Court Friday ruled that execution by electric chair is "cruel and unusual" punishment and therefore prohibited by the Nebraska constitution. In State v. Mata, an appeal by convicted murderer Raymond Mata Jr. against his 2000 death sentence, the court found that since unconsciousness and death are not instantaneous, many condemned prisoners …

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by Jaime Jansen

Two civil rights organizations filed a complaint Thursday against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in federal district court in San Francisco, alleging that DHS failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request regarding department policies on questioning and searching travelers returning to the United States from overseas. The Asian …

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by Jaime Jansen

Thai investigators formally asked state prosecutors Friday to bring new charges against former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife Pojamarn Shinawatra for allegedly concealing assets. Pojamarn returned to Thailand from self-imposed exile last month to face corruption and fraud charges. She was arrested upon arriving in Thailand, and was released …

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by Jaime Jansen

Two new judges, Sheikh Hakim Ali of the Lahore High Court and retired judge Mohammad Farrukh Mahmood, were sworn in to the reconstituted Supreme Court of Pakistan by Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar Friday, bringing the regular membership of the court up to 16. They follow three other judges appointed to the high court in December, shortly …

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by Jaime Jansen

A Cambodian genocide survivor Friday testified against former Khmer Rouge official Nuon Chea at a pre-trial hearing before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC), marking the first time that a victim has ever taken the stand against a former Khmer Rouge official. Cambodian-American human rights activist and author Theary …

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by Jaime Jansen

French authorities questioned a second "rogue trader" Friday in their investigation into the massive financial losses of French Bank Societe Generale, Le Monde reported Friday. The French newspaper reported that French authorities questioned the undisclosed trader about `his relationship with Jerome Kerviel, who stands accused of "breach of trust," "falsifying and using falsified documents," and …

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by Jaime Jansen

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed by business groups challenging the Legal Arizona Workers Act, saying that the law does not overstep the federal government's authority to regulate immigration. Civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and …

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by Nick Fiske

New Jersey pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck has agreed to pay $671 million to settle claims that it defrauded Medicaid and improperly marketed three of its drugs to doctors, federal prosecutors said Thursday. The settlement stems from two separate lawsuits filed in Philadelphia and New Orleans. The Philadelphia case alleged that Merck overcharged the …

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