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Legal news from Tuesday, March 18, 2008
by Devin Montgomery

The Parliament of Kenya Tuesday voted unanimously to approve a power-sharing agreement between Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga. The Kenya Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008, intended to end violence sparked by the country's disputed 2007 presidential election, names Odinga as the nation's first Prime …

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by Deirdre Jurand

Nepalese police arrested 50 protesters Tuesday after roughly 200 Tibetan exiles demonstrated near the country's UN headquarters in Katmandu, demanding a UN investigation into China's recent crackdown against pro-Tibet protests. The protesters, who were arrested after refusing to leave the site, began a hunger strike early Tuesday and were later joined by monks, forming the third demonstration …

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by Kiely Lewandowski

Judges ousted by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf after his declaration of emergency rule last November can only be reinstated if the newly elected members of the National Assembly of Pakistan strike down constitutional changes Musharraf introduced following the dismissals, Pakistani Attorney General Malik Qayyum said Tuesday. Qayyum said that reinstating the judges would require …

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by Devin Montgomery

Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr said in an affidavit released Tuesday that US interrogators in Afghanistan threatened him with rape, physically abused him, and forced him to swear to false statements. The 63-item statement, signed by Khadr on February 22, was heavily redacted by the US military before its release, omitting many of the …

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by Kiely Lewandowski

The War Crimes Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina Tuesday indicted a Bosnian Serb ex-soldier for crimes against humanity allegedly committed against Muslims in the Bosnian war of the early 1990s. Miodrag Nikacevic is accused of raping two Muslim women in April and June 1992, and is also alleged …

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by Deirdre Jurand

A German state administrative court Tuesday upheld a ban on teachers wearing religious headscarves during school. The court in the federal district of Baden-Wuerttemberg ruled that the teacher who brought the lawsuit had violated her obligation to keep religious expression out of the classroom by wearing a headscarf in class. …

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by Caitlin Price

The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Tuesday rejected an appeal by three former Enron Broadband Services executives seeking the dismissal of remaining charges after a jury failed to reach a verdict on all counts in their 2005 fraud trial. Former VP Scott Yeager, former senior VP Rex Shelby, and former CEO …

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by Caitlin Price

Chief Human Rights Officer Norah Niland of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan Tuesday called on the Afghan government to do more to protect human rights and see that human rights violators are brought to justice. Speaking at a press conference in Kabul, Niland said a general sense that human rights violators could operate with …

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by Brett Murphy

The trial of Chinese human rights activist Hu Jia began Tuesday on charges of inciting subversion of state power. Hu was formally charged last month after he made public letters and recordings from Chinese lawyer Gao Zhisheng alleging that Gao was tortured into confessing to subversion charges. Two local …

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by Caitlin Price

Rights groups Tuesday marked the anniversary of a March 2003 crackdown on dissidents in Cuba by calling for the release of political prisoners detained during that round-up. Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Human Rights First (HRF) and other groups urged new Cuban President Raul Castro to release 55 detainees …

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by Brett Murphy

French "rogue trader" Jerome Kerviel was released from prison Tuesday after a French court ordered that he be freed while the investigation continues into fraudulent activity allegedly conducted by Kerviel while employed at French Bank Societe Generale. The court ordered Kerviel not to leave the country or communicate with a number of former colleagues. The …

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by Brett Murphy

Lawyers for four Kuwaiti Guantanamo Bay detainees have asked the US Court of Military Commission Review to order prosecutors not to speak to detainees without the consent of their lawyers. In an emergency petition filed with the court last week, the lawyers accused prosecutors of violating ethics rules that require a lawyer to gain the opposing lawyer's …

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by James M Yoch Jr

Beleaguered investment bank Bear Stearns was hit with two major lawsuits Monday in the wake of its announced acquisition by JPMorgan Chase. The first suit, filed in US District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleged that some of the company's officers and directors - including Chairman …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in District of Columbia v. Heller, 07-290, a case where the Court considered whether the Second Amendment to the US constitution prohibits the District of Columbia from banning private handgun possession. The US Court of Appeals for the DC …

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by Brett Murphy

The National Assembly of Armenia voted during an emergency session Monday to place restrictions on rallies and demonstrations. By a vote of 90-6, the parliament empowered the government to ban rallies if a "trustworthy" report indicates that a demonstration would pose a risk to "national security, public order, or violate citizens' constitutional rights." Opposition members …

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by Michael Sung

The US Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California filed charges on Monday against San Francisco Bay maritime pilot John Joseph Cota for allegedly causing the negligent discharge of approximately 58,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil in San Francisco Bay. Cota, who was piloting the M/V Cosco Busan on November 7, 2007 …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The US Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Washington's system for primary elections does not violate the First Amendment right of freedom of association. The decision came in the consolidated cases of Washington State Grange v. Washington State Republican Party and Washington v. Washington State Republican Party, challenges to …

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by Michael Sung

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has submitted incomplete and inaccurate information to be added to the US government's consolidated terrorist watchlist over the last three years, according to a report released Monday by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The audit, conducted between June and October …

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by Michael Sung

The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs has ruled that the Palestinian Authority (PA) does not enjoy sovereign immunity and can be sued in Israeli courts for its alleged involvements in terrorism. The ministry, in a statement released Sunday, said that Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni made …

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by Brett Murphy

UN special police forces on Monday retook the UN courthouse recently occupied by Serbian protesters demonstrating against Kosovo's declaration of independence last month. The Serbian group took control of the courthouse in the northern city of Mitrovica on Friday, demanding a deal with UN authorities. Thousands of protesters gathered outside the courthouse Monday to …

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