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Legal news from Friday, May 30, 2008
by Mike Rosen-Molina

The Beijing Judicial Bureau has refused to renew the licenses of a number of Chinese human rights lawyers before a Saturday deadline, a China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group official said Friday. The bureau originally denied renewals to 500 lawyers, but eventually agreed to renew some licenses after the lawyers released a letter of complaint …

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by Deirdre Jurand

Connecticut filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical distribution giant McKesson Corp. in US District Court for the District of Massachusetts Thursday, accusing the company of violating federal anti-racketeering laws by inflating drug prices for state-funded health care. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal alleged that McKesson and drug-price publisher First DataBank conspired to …

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by Andrew Gilmore

US Department of Defense prosecutors brought new charges against three detainees being held at the US detention center at Guantanamo Bay on Thursday. Jabran al-Qathani, Ghassan Abdullah al-Sharbi, and Algerian Sufyian Barhoumi are each charged with conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism based on their alleged involvement with an al Qaeda bomb-making …

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by Andrew Gilmore

The Supreme Court of Brazil Thursday ruled 6-5 that a 2005 law allowing embryonic stem cell research is constitutional, rejecting a challenge by the country's attorney general that it infringed on the "constitutional right to life." Thursday's decision drew condemnation from the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops [group website, in Portuguese; press …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

An opposition party in Japan has introduced a bill in Japan's House of Representatives that would provide compensation for Korean and Taiwanese nationals convicted of war crimes committed while working for the Japanese military occupying their territories during World War II. Under the plan proposed by the Democratic Party of Japan …

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by Deirdre Jurand

A Washington DC Superior Court found 34 members of anti-war activism group Witness Against Torture guilty Thursday on misdemeanor charges of illegal protesting. Police arrested 71 group members at a protest in front of the US Supreme Court in January, where they were demonstrating for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison. …

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by Andrew Gilmore

German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries Thursday deflected the European Commission's criticism of proposed legislation that would preserve the power of the German state of Lower Saxony to block major business decisions at automaker Volkswagen AG. The law, known as the "VW law," is aimed at protecting Volkswagen from hostile …

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by Deirdre Jurand

A Texas state appeals court Thursday overturned a jury verdict against pharmaceutical giant Merck concerning a death allegedly caused by painkiller Vioxx. The Texas Fourteenth Court of Appeals reversed a verdict which had awarded $26 million to widow Carol Ernst, who alleged that her husband died after taking Vioxx …

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by Deirdre Jurand

The former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay alleges that the US Department of Defense (DOD) retaliated against him for giving testimony at the pre-trial hearing of detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan which reflected poorly on the DOD. In an email released Wednesday, Air Force Col. Morris Davis wrote …

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by Andrew Gilmore

The US Department of Defense (DOD) on Thursday dismissed the military judge presiding over the military commission trial of Canadian Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr. No explanation was given for the dismissal of Col. Peter Brownback, but Khadr's defense lawyers speculated that it was was related to Brownback's threat earlier …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

A Turkish court Thursday ordered the closure of a prominent gay rights group, finding that the name of Lambda Istanbul Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transvestites Solidarity Association is contrary to Turkish morality because it includes words describing sexual identity. Lambda Istanbul has vowed to appeal the ban, taking the case to the European Court of …

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by Deirdre Jurand

The Balkan region, once plagued by a reputation for dangerous crime and political instability, is now one of the safest regions in Europe, according to a UN study released Thursday. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) found that violent crimes, such as rape, assault and homicide, as well as property …

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