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Legal news from Monday, August 17, 2009
by Jaclyn Belczyk

The US Supreme Court on Monday ordered a federal court in Georgia to consider the case of death row inmate Troy Anthony Davis. Davis had filed an original writ of habeas corpus [cert. petition, PDF] directly in the Supreme Court. Justice John Paul Stevens wrote a concurring opinion, joined by …

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by Andrew Morgan

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) said Monday that it was required to defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as long as "reasonable arguments can be made in support of constitutionality" despite the administration's belief that the law is discriminatory. Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer, a California couple, filed suit alleging …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

Former Zambian president Frederick Chiluba was acquitted Monday of charges stealing money from the country's treasury while in office from 1991-2001. Chiluba and two Zambian businessmen, Faustin Kabwe and Aaron Chungu, faced a total of 12 counts of theft of public funds for their alleged involvement in taking $488,000 when the treasury deposited payments to two US …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

The Iraqi Cabinet on Monday approved a draft bill that would require a referendum on the US-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which allows US troops to remain in the country until the end of 2011. When the SOFA was originally reached and entered into effect on January 1, Iraqi lawmakers called for a referendum that was …

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by Andrew Morgan

The government of Fiji is seeking foreign judges to replace judicial officers whose appointments were revoked after an April suspension of the country's constitution, according to a Sunday report from Sri Lanka's Sunday Times. Fijian Chief Justice Anthony Gates interviewed candidates in Colombo, Sri Lanka, last week and met with the Sri Lankan Chief Justice Asoka …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) must indict and try senior Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) officers suspected of war crimes, Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged in a letter released Monday. HRW had previously written to Chief Prosecutor Hassan Jallow to urge him to prosecute RPF officers suspected …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

UK human rights group Reprieve announced Monday that it is initiating legal action against the British government over the rendition of two terrorism suspects to Afghanistan. The two men were arrested by British troops in Iraq in 2004 and sent to the US detention facility at Bagram Air Base [JURIST news archive; …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

Iraqi Shiite militia are systematically torturing and killing gay men without government repercussions, according to report released Monday by Human Rights Watch (HRW). According to the report, violence against men perceived as gay or too "feminine" has recently been on the rise, with death tolls possibly in the hundreds. Although consensual homosexual conduct …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

Iranian officials on Sunday began the trial of at least 25 people detained during protests following the recent contested presidential election. The defendants are accused of a range of crimes including participating in illegal demonstrations and vandalizing public property. More than 100 protesters were put on trial earlier this month, bringing the …

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