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Legal news from Wednesday, April 2, 2008
by Andrew Gilmore

Five prominent members of the Hindu Rights Action Force who are being detained in Malaysia "have been deprived of their personal liberty in defiance of the law," a defense lawyer argued at a Wednesday Federal Court hearing. The five activists are accused of being involved in orchestrating a November 2007 street demonstration in …

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by Deirdre Jurand

The US House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday voted 38-12 to approve the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, a bill that would give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory power over tobacco products. Supporters say the bill will help to better inform the public of the …

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by Patrick Porter

US Attorney General Michael Mukasey told Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in a letter Monday that the State Secrets Protection Act currently before Congress, introduced by committee leaders to enact a "safe, fair, and responsible" state secrets privilege, would needlessly and improperly interfere with the appropriate constitutional …

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by Deirdre Jurand

Jury selection began Wednesday for the UK trial of eight men accused of plotting to blow up US-bound jetliners over the Atlantic. In August 2006, prosecutors charged the eight with conspiracy to commit murder and endangering aircraft bound for the United States and Canada. The trial, which will begin Thursday, is …

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by Patrick Porter

An Egyptian prosecutor Wednesday appealed the six-month prison sentence handed down last week against a former editor of the weekly al-Dustour newspaper, insisting it was too lenient. Ibrahim Eissa [al-Ahram profile] was convicted on charges of spreading "rumors" about the health of Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak in an August 2007 newspaper …

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by Alexis Unkovic

One of two alleged leaders of the Southeast Asian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) Wednesday denied involvement in a series of 2002 Bali night club bombings and other attacks allegedly committed by JI. At trial, Abu Dujana blamed the media for spreading rumors that he was connected …

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by Alexis Unkovic

The US Department of Defense (DOD) plans to file unspecified terrorism-related charges against one of two UK residents still remaining at Guantanamo Bay, US and British officials told the New York Times Wednesday. UK officials have reportedly objected to plans to try Ethiopian detainee Binyam Mohamed before a US military commission [JURIST news …

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by Alexis Unkovic

Seventeen states Wednesday filed a petition in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit seeking to compel the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to comply with last year's Supreme Court ruling that the EPA has the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate the emission of …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Human rights groups Tuesday filed an appeal of a March Federal Court of Canada ruling that the protections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms do not extend to Afghan detainees captured by Canadian soldiers. Amnesty International Canada and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association argued unsuccessfully …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Lawyers for Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr have asked the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit to reverse a military Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) determination that their client is an "enemy combatant," arguing that the determination "was inconsistent with the laws of the United States, and inconsistent with the standards and …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine Tuesday issued a stay of all executions in the state until the US Supreme Court rules in Baze v. Rees (07-5439), a case challenging the constitutionality of using lethal injection as a method of execution. Kaine's announcement came ahead of the scheduled April 8 execution …

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by James M Yoch Jr

European Union Advocate General Damaso Ruiz-Jarabo on Monday advised the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has engaged in abusive practices that contravene EU antitrust laws in connection with a lawsuit filed by Greek drug wholesalers against GSK. The lawsuit stems from a three-month period in 2000 when …

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by Brett Murphy

The US Department of Justice advised the US Department of Defense in 2003 that military interrogators could employ a wide range of interrogation methods when questioning foreign detainees outside the United States without fear of criminal liability or constitutional sanction, according to a 2003 memorandum made public for the first time Tuesday. The 81-page document, …

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by Leslie Schulman

The US Department of Defense (DOD) is circumventing legal limits on its relatively narrow power to issue so-called national security letters (NSLs) by getting the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to use its broader NSL-issuing powers on the DOD's behalf, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said Tuesday. The report follows review of …

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by Leslie Schulman

The National League for Democracy (NLD), the main opposition party in Myanmar, on Wednesday urged citizens to reject the proposed constitution put forth by Myanmar's military government. In a statement to Reuters, an NLD spokesman appealed to citizens to vote against the constitution when they go to the polls next month, following similar calls by the …

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by Leslie Schulman

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed a resolution by a 32-0 vote Tuesday "extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression for three years," and adding extra oversight to require reporting when "abuse of the right of freedom of expression constitute …

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