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Legal news from Wednesday, April 16, 2008
by Deirdre Jurand

The US government will begin collecting DNA samples from every person arrested under federal laws, a Department of Justice spokesman said Wednesday. Federal agencies are authorized to collect DNA samples under a 2006 amendment to the Violence Against Women Act, but previously had only collected DNA from people actually convicted of federal crimes. About 1.2 …

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by Andrew Gilmore

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Russia are chafing under increasingly strict regulations implemented under legislation signed into law in April 2006 by Russian President Vladimir Putin, rights groups told AP Wednesday in the wake of a Tuesday compliance deadline. The groups say they expect the Russian government to continue its clamp-down on foreign-funded and domestic NGOs …

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by Deirdre Jurand

Lawyers for former Italian Intelligence and Security Service (SISMI) chief Nicolo Pollari said Wednesday that they have included Italian Prime Minister-elect Silvio Berlusconi as a requested witness to testify in support of Pollari's assertion that he was not involved in a reported 2003 CIA kidnapping case. Pollari was charged [JURIST …

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by Patrick Porter

Several US states announced Wednesday that they would resume executions by lethal injection after the Supreme Court's decision upholding Kentucky's lethal injection protocol earlier in the day. Virginia lifted its death penalty moratorium and Oklahoma's attorney general said he would seek to schedule executions for two death-row inmates. Arizona's attorney general said the …

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by Andrew Gilmore

Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein was released from custody Wednesday by US military forces in Iraq. Maj. Gen. Douglas M. Stone, deputy commanding general for detainee operations for the Multi National Force–Iraq, signed an order approving Hussein's release Monday after confirming that Hussein's conduct fell under Iraq's amnesty law, passed …

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by Patrick Porter

The Federal Court of Australia Wednesday ruled against former Guantanamo detainee Mamdouh Habib in an ongoing claim for compensation against the Australian government, which he accused of being complicit in torture he allegedly suffered while held in US custody. Habib had alleged that he was interrogated and tortured at the Australian High …

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by Katerina Ossenova

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in Kennedy v. Louisiana, 07-343, where the Supreme Court considered whether the death penalty constitutes cruel and unusual punishment when imposed for a crime in which the victim was not killed. Patrick Kennedy was sentenced to death in …

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by Katerina Ossenova

US District Judge Joan A. Lenard Wednesday declared a second mistrial in a terrorism prosecution of six men charged with conspiring to bomb the Sears Tower in Chicago and the FBI headquarters in Miami after the jury was unable to reach a verdict after 13 days of deliberations. In December 2007 Lenard declared an …

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by Katerina Ossenova

The European Union (EU) must do more to ensure that those responsible for war crimes committed during the 1991-1995 Croatian War of Independence are brought to justice, Amnesty International said Tuesday. Amnesty called on the EU to use Croatia's status as an EU candidate country to ensure that the …

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by Brett Murphy

Zimbabwean police have arrested more than 50 members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) after the party called for a strike to protest the nondisclosure of the results of the March 29 presidential elections, a party spokesperson said Wednesday. Zimbabwe police say that only 30 opposition supporters were arrested for blocking roads and …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The US Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that lethal injection does not violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. The ruling came in Baze v. Rees, where lawyers for Kentucky death row inmate Ralph Baze argued that the three-drug lethal injection cocktail [DPIC …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The US Supreme Court handed down decisions in three cases Wednesday, including Burgess v. US, where the Court held that a defendant's federal drug sentence can be enhanced under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) when the defendant has previously been convicted of a state drug offense punishable …

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by Brett Murphy

The Supreme Court of Peru on Tuesday upheld a prison sentence for former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, who was convicted late last year on charges of abuse of authority for ordering a warrantless search of the apartment of the wife of former Peruvian Intelligence Director Vladimiro Montesino. The high court …

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by Brett Murphy

US federal prosecutors defended the prison treatment of accused enemy combatant Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri in documents filed Tuesday with the US Court of Appeal for the Fourth Circuit. Prosecutors say that although al-Marri is kept in solitary confinement, he has access to a library, TV, computer, and exercise equipment. Lawyers for al-Marri …

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by Brett Murphy

An Iranian appeals court Tuesday upheld the sentences of three Iranian students on charges of insulting Islam. Majid Tavakoli, Ahmed Ghassaban, and Ehsan Mansouri were arrested last year for allegedly publishing anti-Islamic material in multiple newspapers. The three were sentenced to 22 to 30 months in prison. Supporters of the students had hoped they would be released …

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by Leslie Schulman

A judge in Zimbabwe on Wednesday cleared two foreign journalists of charges of reporting on the country's March 29 presidential election without obtaining proper credentials. Barry Bearak of the New York Times and Stephen Bevan of Britain's Telegraph were arrested in early April and held for five days before being released on …

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by Leslie Schulman

Officials from the US Department of State and the Department of Defense testified Tuesday in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, calling for the Senate to ratify five long-postponed treaties that would provide increased protection for civilians during wartime. State Department Legal Adviser John Bellinger III and Pentagon Deputy General Counsel Charles A. Allen …

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by Leslie Schulman

A military judge Tuesday postponed the scheduled April 28 court-martial for a US Marine charged in connection with the November 2005 killings of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha, rescheduling the trial for June 17. According to lawyers for Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani, who faces court-martial for dereliction of …

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