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Legal news from Wednesday, May 21, 2008
by Mike Rosen-Molina

The 47-member UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) held elections for 15 open seats Wednesday, with four seats going to countries that have been harshly criticized by human rights groups. In a report to the UNHRC, Freedom House and UN Watch previously condemned the human rights records …

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by Andrew Gilmore

The Law Lords, the judicial members of UK House of Lords, Wednesday denied the Home Office the right to appeal a lower court ruling which granted government compensation to an Algerian-born pilot wrongly detained after the September 11 attacks. In February, the Court of Appeal ruled that Lotfi Raissi was entitled …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

US President George W. Bush Wednesday signed into law a bill aimed at preventing employers and health insurers from discriminating against people who have a genetic predisposition to disease. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) had passed with overwhelming majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Under …

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by Patrick Porter

The future of a landmark discrimination case brought by black farmers against the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is uncertain after President George W. Bush vetoed the new Farm Bill Wednesday. The bill included a provision that would have reopened the class-action suit in which plaintiffs allege that …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The US Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a Georgia death row inmate's challenge to the state's method of execution Tuesday, ruling that he had missed the statute of limitations to file. Samuel David Crowe was convicted of murder and is scheduled to be executed Thursday. He could become the second condemned inmate in the …

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by Devin Montgomery

Japan's House of Councillors passed a bill Tuesday that would allow the country's space program to be used for defense purposes, including the development of spy satellites. The law, passed by an overwhelming majority of 221-14, was passed by Japan's House of Representatives last week and by a lower …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The Supreme Court of Switzerland Wednesday upheld the 2007 convictions of a married couple for supporting criminal activities by operating websites that published statements and video footage from al Qaeda, including the 2004 beheading of American engineer Paul M. Johnson, Jr. Moez Garsallaoui was sentenced to six months in prison, while his wife Malika …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

Eight alleged al-Qaeda operatives were given life sentences by a Jordan military court Wednesday as punishment for their roles in a 2004 failed chemical weapons attack on the US Embassy and other sites in Jordan. The plot was allegedly funded by al-Qaeda's top leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a US …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev promised Tuesday to take steps to tackle corruption and intimidation in the Russian judicial system, calling for reforms to better train and support judges and to preserve the rule of law. Speaking at a meeting of top Russian legal officials, Medvedev said: Our main objective is to achieve independence for the judicial …

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by Devin Montgomery

US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents were present during interrogations of terrorism suspects in which Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or Department of Defense (DOD) officers used "borderline torture" interrogation tactics, but they did not participate in those interrogations, according to a report released Tuesday by the US Department …

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by Patrick Porter

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Murat Kurnaz, a Turkish citizen born in Germany, testified Tuesday before the US House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight regarding torture he allegedly suffered while in US custody in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay. Appearing by videoconference from Germany, …

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by Andrew Gilmore

Former Khmer Rouge minister for social affairs Ieng Thirith made her first appearance in court Tuesday at a bail hearing before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). Thirith was arrested in November 2007 along with her husband, former Khmer Rouge foreign …

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by Devin Montgomery

The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled Tuesday that a Virginia law banning certain types of late-term abortions is unconstitutional. In 2005, a panel of judges on the same court declared the law unconstitutional because it lacked an an exception to protect the mother's health, but the …

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