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Legal news from Wednesday, March 26, 2008
by Deirdre Jurand

Belarusian district courts Wednesday sentenced at least 55 demonstrators for participating in a banned "Freedom Day" rally in Minsk to protest against Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko. "Freedom Day" first began as a celebration of Belarus' 1918 declaration of independence but has in recent years become a protest against Lukashenko's authoritarian policies. Some protesters, …

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by Andrew Gilmore

The Bush administration has filed an appeal of a ruling by a panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit invalidating new less-stringent mercury emissions rules issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In February, the panel ruled that the "cap-and-trade" policy, to be implemented in 2010 by the …

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by Patrick Porter

Indonesian prosecutors Wednesday recommended that two alleged leaders of the Southeast Asian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) be given life sentences if found guilty on terrorism charges. Prosecutors also asked the court to officially outlaw the group. Zarkasih and Abu Dujana went on trial in December, charged with training and …

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by Alexis Unkovic

A court in Egypt Wednesday sentenced the former editor of weekly newspaper al-Dustour to six months in prison after convicting him on charges of spreading "rumors" about the health of Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak in an August newspaper report. Ibrahim Eissa [al-Ahram profile] originally faced a maximum sentence of three …

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by Alexis Unkovic

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in Indiana v. Edwards, 07-208, a case in which the Court is considering whether states may adopt a higher standard for measuring competency to represent oneself at trial than for measuring competency to stand trial. Specifically, the Court is …

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by Katerina Ossenova

A former army general and warlord in the Democratic Republic of Congo denied allegations of war crimes in an interview published Wednesday in Dutch newspaper Trouw. Laurent Nkunda, the Tutsi leader of the National Congress for the Defence of the People, is accused of masterminding an anti-government insurgency in the …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Lawyers for Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr argued before the Supreme Court of Canada Wednesday that the Canadian government should be compelled to turn over confidential documents that they say led to Khadr's charges and are therefore necessary for a fair trial. Khadr is seeking documents that Canada allegedly provided to …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Thailand's ruling political party announced plans Wednesday to amend the nation's newly adopted constitution. The People Power Party (PPP), which which won 233 out of 480 parliament seats in the first election since the current interim military-backed government took power in a September 2006 bloodless coup, intends to make sweeping changes, including stripping …

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by Brett Murphy

China is denying human rights, including basic religious freedom, to Tibetans, according to an annual report released Tuesday by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The report found:Violations of human rights continue in Tibet. We regularly raise our concerns, including individual cases...We continue to make clear our view that the best way to …

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by Brett Murphy

A Nebraska bill that would have banned the death penalty, replacing it with a sentence of life in prison without parole, failed in the Nebraska Legislature on Tuesday, receiving only 20 of the 25 necessary votes to move forward. Last month, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that execution by electric …

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by Leslie Schulman

Three Indonesian Islamic militants sentenced to death for their roles in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings filed a new appeal Wednesday, after withdrawing an earlier appeal this week following refusal of the Cilacap district court to grant a change of venue and transport the militants to a district court in Bali. According to defense lawyers, …

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by Leslie Schulman

Hollinger Inc., the Canadian holding company with an interest in former newspaper publisher Hollinger International, has agreed to pay the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) $21.3 million to settle claims that from 1999 to 2003 it violated securities law by failing to disclose to investors payments and other transactions that …

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by Leslie Schulman

The Maryland General Assembly has passed legislation to establish the Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment, which would study the implementation and execution of the death penalty in that state. The state House approved HB 1111 by a 89-48 vote on Monday, and the Senate later approved SB 614 by a 32-15 vote. The Commission will …

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