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Legal news from Thursday, February 14, 2008
by Benjamin Klein

A Chinese land rights activist arrested for circulating a petition declaring "we want human rights, not the Olympics" will be tried next week, according to Thursday media reports. Yang Chunlin was arrested in July 2007 and charged with "inciting subversion of state power" after obtaining over 10,000 signatures on a petition that said improving human rights is …

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by Nick Fiske

Chadian President Idriss Deby Thursday declared a state of emergency throughout Chad, citing increased violence between government forces and rebels in the capital city of N'Djamena. The order bans most public meetings, imposes a curfew, authorizes government censorship of the press, and allows regional governments …

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by Nick Fiske

US District Judge Richard W. Roberts Thursday extended the deadline for the government to comply with an order issued last month requiring it to submit a report to the court by February 14 detailing why the CIA destroyed videotapes showing the interrogation of terror suspects, whether other evidence connected to …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and opposition candidate Raila Odinga Thursday agreed to write a new constitution, an agreement that could put an end to the violence that erupted in the wake of January's disputed presidential election. A spokesman for former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is currently in the country to …

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by Katerina Ossenova

The US House of Representatives voted Thursday to hold former White House legal counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten in contempt for failing to cooperate with an inquiry into the US Attorneys firing scandal. Members of the House voted 223-32 to issue contempt …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Mexico's National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) is not doing enough to promote remedies and reforms needed to end abuses, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report released Wednesday. After examining the commission's work on more than 40 human rights cases, HRW said that CNDH often fails to push for …

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by Brett Murphy

Acting head of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Legal Counsel Steven G. Bradbury testified at a US House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties hearing Thursday that the use of waterboarding has been barred by measures enacted since it the interrogation technique was used on …

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by Nick Fiske

Argentinean police Wednesday arrested retired naval officer Luis Emilio Sosa in Buenos Aires in connection with the August 1972 massacre of 16 leftist guerrillas on a military base in the southern city of Trelew. Two other former officers, Paccagnini Ruben and Emilio Del Real, were also arrested over the weekend for their alleged roles in …

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by Brett Murphy

US Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) said Wednesday that he has introduced a bill in Congress aimed at guaranteeing unfettered access to the Internet and limiting the ability of Internet providers to restrict users' access. Markey said that the Internet Freedom Preservation Act would ensure so-called "net neutrality:"The open architecture …

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by Brett Murphy

The US Marine Corps has ordered Lance Cpl. Stephen Tatum to testify against Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich about the killing of 24 Iraqi civilians at Haditha in November 2005, according to Wednesday media reports. Both men currently face court-martial for their alleged roles in the incident. Tatum's lawyer said that …

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by Brett Murphy

The US District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed a lawsuit against Jeppesen Dataplan Wednesday, ruling in favor of the US government's motion to dismiss on state secret grounds. The US Department of Justice had argued that the lawsuit, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union over Jeppesen's alleged role in …

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by Jaime Jansen

Prisons and courts in Iraq have been overwhelmed with an influx of detainees corresponding to the surge in American troops in Iraq over the last year, American advisers visiting Iraq said on Wednesday. Iraq's prison system does not have nearly enough beds to house all of the detainees in custody, nor does the court system have …

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by Jaime Jansen

The Iranian Guardian Council, the upper parliamentary chamber composed of twelve members, on Wednesday reinstated more than 280 parliamentary candidates in preparation for next month's parliamentary elections. Last month, Iran's Interior Ministry banned over 2,000 moderates and reformists from running in the March parliamentary election. Among those banned were 190 of 200 candidates from the main reformist …

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by Jaime Jansen

The US Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing Wednesday on the state secrets privilege in preparation for debate on the State Secrets Protection Act, a bill introduced by committee leaders "to enact a safe, fair, and responsible state secrets privilege." The bill, introduced by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and co-sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy …

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by Deirdre Jurand

A European Commission official on Wednesday sharply criticized as "unacceptable" American attempts to negotiate with newer EU member states, reportedly offering to allow visa-free travel in exchange for extra air passenger data. Directorate-General for Justice, Freedom and Security Jonathan Faull said American negotiations with individual EU member states were disrespectful to the EU system. …

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by Andrew Gilmore

World Trade Organization (WTO) judges ruled against China Wednesday in a case brought by the US, EU, and Canada over China's taxation scheme for imported car parts. The complaint alleged that China was taxing auto parts imported from those countries at the same rate that it taxed foreign-made finished cars in violation of promises …

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by Deirdre Jurand

The US government plans to approve the first stretch of "virtual fencing" for border control, which will run for 28 miles along the US-Mexico border southwest of Tucson, Arizona, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Wednesday during a congressional hearing. The virtual fence, part of the Secure Border Initiative developed …

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