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Legal news from Thursday, October 16, 2008
by Kiely Lewandowski

The Moscow District Military Court opened closed preliminary hearings Wednesday on the killing of journalist Anna Politkovskaya. The hearings began without prominent human rights lawyer Karina Moskalenko, who is representing Politkovskaya's family, because the lawyer fell ill Wednesday, giving rise to suspicions that she was poisoned, possibly by mercury later found …

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by Eric Firkel

Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon Thursday ordered the exhumation of 19 mass graves in Spain, launching an investigation into the disappearances of tens of thousands of people beginning in the Spanish Civil War, and continuing through the early years of Francisco Franco's dictatorship. In a 68-page writ, …

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by Eric Firkel

The FBI is investigating allegations of voter registration fraud involving the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) ahead of the November presidential election. According to senior law enforcement officials quoted by AP Thursday, the FBI is analyzing evidence gathered from recent raids of ACORN state headquarters to determine whether there is a nationwide …

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by Caitlin Price

Vietnam's Hanoi People's Court on Wednesday sentenced journalist Nguyen Viet Chien of Thanh Nien news agency to two years in prison for "abusing democratic freedoms" to infringe state interests for his reporting on the so-called PMU 18 corruption scandal. Nguyen's co-defendant, Nguyen Van Hai of Tuoi Tre news agency …

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by Andrew Gilmore

US insurance giant American International Group (AIG) is lobbying state governments to relax strict, recently enacted rules designed to provide greater oversight of the mortgage lending industry, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The rules are contained in the S.A.F.E. Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008, which was signed into law by President Bush at the …

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by Andrew Gilmore

The Pakistani cabinet led by Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani Wednesday approved changes to a statute governing the country's lawyers and endorsed a draft bill that would establish a new National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR). The changes to the Legal Practitioners Act of 1973 would undo an amendment to the Act …

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by Benjamin Klein

A commission established to investigate the political and ethnic violence that followed Kenya's disputed December 2007 presidential election released a report on Wednesday recommending the establishment of an international tribunal to try suspected perpetrators. The Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence cited “systematic attacks on Kenyans based on their ethnicity and their political leanings” …

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by Andrew Morgan

US President George W. Bush on Tuesday signed a bill designed to further insulate federal inspectors general (IGs) from political interference. The Inspector General Reform Act of 2008 is the latest in a series of amendments to the Inspector General Act of 1978, which created the oversight offices within executive agencies. The new law …

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by Caitlin Price

A judge on the Constitutional Court of Italy on Wednesday suspended the trial of 26 Americans and five former Italian intelligence officials for the 2003 abduction and rendition of Egyptian cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr to consider whether to compel a witness to answer questions that …

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by Benjamin Klein

An urgent effort by the Bush administration to transfer 17 Guantanamo detainees outside the US has stalled as a result of a bitter interagency dispute, according to a New York Times report on Wednesday. Last week, US District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina ordered the 17 Chinese Muslim Uighurs held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to be released …

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by Eric Firkel

US and Iraqi negotiators Wednesday agreed on a draft for a Status of Forces Agreement that gives Iraqi courts limited jurisdiction over American military personnel. According to Iraqi officials quoted by AP Wednesday, the draft agreement requires US troops to face trial before Iraqi courts for major crimes committed off base when the troops are not on …

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