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Legal news from Friday, February 22, 2008
by Steve Czajkowski

The Supreme Court of Belarus Friday ordered a former newspaper editor who had been had been sentenced to three years in prison for reprinting cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad to be released, his lawyer said. Alexander Sdvizhkov, former deputy editor of Belarus newspaper Zhoda, had been convicted of inciting religious hatred, but was released …

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by Eric Firkel

US Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ) has been indicted on charges that include extortion, money laundering, and wire fraud in connection with a complex land scheme, according to an indictment released Friday at a Phoenix press conference. If convicted, Renzi could face thousands in fines and prison time.Prosecutors allege Renzi used his …

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by Steve Czajkowski

The US government has granted final approval to the first stretch of "virtual fencing", which will run for 28 miles along the US-Mexico border southwest of Tucson, Arizona, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Friday at a briefing on Immigration Enforcement and Border Security Efforts. The virtual fence, part of the Secure Border Initiative …

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by Eric Firkel

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched an internal probe into whether top department officials improperly approved the CIA's use of waterboarding, according to documents released Friday. The DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility investigation, which a DOJ spokesperson said has been ongoing for years, is part of a larger inquiry into …

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by Patrick Porter

Turkish President Abdullah Gul Friday approved amendments to the country's constitution that will ease a current ban on Islamic headscarves in universities. Gul's office said in a statement that the amendments did not conflict with the country's "basic principles." Opposition parties have said they will appeal to the nation's Constitutional Court [official website, in …

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by Patrick Porter

The European Commission (EC), the executive branch of the European Union, is still awaiting appropriate responses from Romania and Poland regarding allegations that they assisted the CIA in operating secret prisons for terror suspects, an EC spokesperson said Friday. The spokesperson said that Romania has sent a response, but that it was not complete …

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by Patrick Porter

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Friday upheld the dismissal of a case brought by approximately three million Vietnamese plaintiffs against more than 30 American chemical companies for producing and supplying defoliants, including Agent Orange, that US forces used during the Vietnam war. The Court …

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by Jaime Jansen

David Bermingham, one of three British bankers known as the NatWest Three was sentenced to over three years in prison Friday after pleading guilty in November to one count of wire fraud. Bermingham, along with Giles Darby and Gary Mulgrew, was indicted on seven counts of wire fraud for entering into a …

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by Jaime Jansen

The appeals chamber of the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone on Friday upheld the sentences of three former leaders of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council who were convicted of crimes against humanity. In July 2007, the court sentenced Brima Bazzy Kamara to 45 years in prison, …

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by Jaime Jansen

Delegates failed to agree on a binding treaty banning cluster bombs by the end of a five-day conference organized by Cluster Munitions Coalition (CMC) in New Zealand Friday, but have agreed to continue negotiations at a May conference in Dublin. By Friday, conference organizers said that 82 countries had signed the so-called …

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by Jaime Jansen

The National Parliament of East Timor voted Friday to further extend the country's state of emergency, which was set to expire Saturday, by an additional 30 days. Last week, the parliament extended the state of emergency in response to attacks against East Timorese President Jose Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao. East …

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by Jaime Jansen

The British House of Commons approved an order Thursday extending until March 2009 provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 regarding control orders, which impose restrictions on uncharged terror suspects. The measure was approved by a margin of 267-60. The UK's counter-terrorism law ombudsman said in his third annual report Monday …

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by Jaime Jansen

James Tobin, President Bush's 2004 campaign chairman for New England, was acquitted Thursday of federal telephone harassment charges for his alleged role in a 2002 phone-jamming scheme. In his ruling Thursday, US District Judge Steven McAuliffe said he was "constrained" by an earlier appeals court ruling overturning Tobin's previous conviction. Tobin was …

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