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Legal news from Thursday, May 8, 2008
by Bernard Hibbitts

A US federal judge Thursday directed the CIA to produce a 2002 US Department of Justice memo that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) claims authorized the agency to use specific torture techniques - including waterboarding - on US detainees held abroad. The memo prepared by the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) [official …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

An Egyptian court Thursday ordered the editor of independent newspaper al-Badeel to pay a $2,000 fine for publishing an article about labor disputes in the state-owned Middle East News Agency. Mohammed Sayyed was convicted of libel, and also ordered to pay $1,000 in compensation to the chief of the news agency. AP has more.In recent …

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by Abigail Salisbury

The Australian Defence Force is investigating claims by four Taliban members detained following the death of an Australian soldier in Afghanistan that they were mistreated during their time in custody, Australian media reported Thursday. The allegations were reported by a senior Afghan commander who spoke of "mistreatment" of prisoners by Australian troops. ABC Australia has more.Australia currently …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

Vietnam will prosecute two anti-Communist activists on "terrorism" charges for distributing literature critical of the government, a government spokesperson said Thursday. The men are members of US-based rights group Viet Tan, which has denied that it endorses anti-government violence and has said that the men were calling for peaceful democratic change. Reuters has more.The Communist …

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by Abigail Salisbury

The parliaments of Latvia and Lithuania Thursday adopted the new EU reform treaty, properly known as the Treaty of Lisbon, bringing the total number of ratifying nations to 13. All 27 EU countries must approve the Treaty before it takes effect; most ratifications are expected to be parliamentary, although Ireland plans to …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

Turkish President Abdullah Gul Wednesday signed an amendment into law restricting the controversial Article 301 of the country's penal code, which makes "insulting the Turkish identity" a crime. The amendment recharacterizes the crime of "insulting the Turkish identity" as insulting the "Turkish nation," reduces the maximum possible punishment from three years …

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by Steve Czajkowski

The European Parliament Thursday approved a report calling for a mandatory registry of lobbyists seeking access to EU lawmakers. The measure was passed 547-24, with 59 abstaining. The Parliament also supported a "one-stop-shop" proposal, which would allow lobbyists to register once to gain access to Parliament, the European Commission, and the …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

An Islamic court in Malaysia ruled Thursday that a Buddhist woman who converted to Islam should be allowed to return to her original faith. The ruling is unusual in Malaysia, which has both secular and Sharia courts; Sharia courts rarely allow converts to renounce Islam, a fact which has led to tensions with the country's minority …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The FBI has withdrawn a National Security Letter (NSL) issued against an Internet library website in a settlement announced Wednesday. The FBI had issued the NSL to the Internet Archive, seeking personal information about a particular publicly-unnamed site user; the Archive, the American …

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by Steve Czajkowski

Germany's Federal Constitutional Court Wednesday ruled that German surveillance flights over Turkey conducted in 2003 during the lead-up to the Iraq War were unconstitutional. The court held that the flights equated to "armed deployment," and thus needed to first be approved by the German Bundestag, the …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

A panel convened last week by Pakistan's coalition government has completed a draft parliamentary resolution to reinstate judges ousted by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf last year, Pakistani Law Minister Farooq Naek said late Wednesday. The resolution now goes to the top leadership of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for approval before being …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

A Bangladeshi court Wednesday formally charged former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed with corruption under the recommendation of the country's Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). Hasina and eight other people are accused of involvement in an kickback scheme that awarded lucrative gas contracts to Canadian oil company Niko Resources Ltd. The …

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by Steve Czajkowski

The Maryland Court of Appeals has ruled that the Islamic talaq, a controversial practice under which a husband can divorce his wife without her say, violates the state constitution and therefore does not constitute a valid form of divorce in Maryland. The Court held Tuesday that talaq was against Maryland constitutional provisions granting equal …

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by Abigail Salisbury

The US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the plea agreement made by BP following a 2005 explosion at a Texas City refinery must be sent back to the US district court in Houston for reconsideration. The accident killed 15 and injured 180, but secret negotiations for a plea agreement were conducted without …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

One of the bombers involved in a series of suicide attacks in Mosul, Iraq, in April was a former detainee held at Guantanamo Bay, the US military said Wednesday. Kuwaiti Abdullah Salim Ali al-Ajmi was detained in Afghanistan before being transferred to Guantanamo for three years; he was released to Kuwait in 2005. Kuwaiti media say …

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by Abigail Salisbury

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that governments and universities may not provide health benefits for same-sex partners of their employees. The 5-2 ruling interpreted a 2004 state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage to mean that same-sex couples are to be denied any of the benefits of marriage as well. The suit involved 21 …

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by Abigail Salisbury

The US military has reduced the sentence of Marine Corps Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins III handed down after following his conviction last August for killing an Iraqi civilian, AP reported Thursday. Hutchins' attorney said he learned Tuesday that Hutchins will now serve only 11 years in detention at Fort Leavenworth and will have his …

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