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Legal news from Wednesday, September 2, 2009
by Jaclyn Belczyk

Czech President Vaclav Klaus on Wednesday called an emergency meeting of political officials to discuss potential changes to the country's constitution, one day after the Constitutional Court delayed elections planned for October 9 and 10 to consider a suit by a lawmaker. The …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

A Thai criminal court has sentenced political activist Darunee Charnchoengsilpakul to 18 years in prison for insulting the royal family. Darunee was convicted last Friday on charges of violating Thailand's lese majeste law, which prohibits defaming, insulting, or threatening "King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent, or the Regent." Darunee was accused of denouncing …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

The Scottish Parliament voted 73-50 Wednesday to condemn last month's decision by Scottish Justice Minister Kennny MacAskill to release to Libya convicted Pan Am Flight 103 bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi. The symbolic vote was a defeat for the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP) but did …

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by Steve Czajkowski

The Federal Court of Australia ruled Wednesday that former Serbian paramilitary commander Dragan Vasiljkovic may appeal his extradition to Croatia, finding a real chance of prejudice if the extradition were carried out. Vasiljkovic, also known as Daniel Snedden, is accused of war crimes in connection with his treatment of Croatian prisoners during …

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by Steve Czajkowski

The Commonwealth of Nations on Tuesday suspended the island nation of Fiji from its organization because it failed to meet the September 1 deadline for reinstating a constitutional democracy and opening a national dialogue following its December 2006 military coup. Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said that a letter …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced Tuesday that a group of 91 countries have reached an agreement on the final text of the first ever treaty to combat illegal fishing. The Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing aims to prevent illegally …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

Lawyers for the US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a former State Department official seeking diplomatic immunity against Italian charges of helping to unlawfully kidnap a suspected terrorist. Sabrina De Sousa is one of 26 Americans and seven Italians on trial …

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by Amelia Mathias

The Taipei District Court sentenced former Taiwanese first lady Wu Shu-Chen to one year in prison for obstructing justice in a corruption case against her. Wu Shu-Chen, wife of embattled former president Chen Shui-bian, was found guilty of instructing her children on how to respond to investigators. Though initially sentenced to two …

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by Ximena Marinero

A Guatemalan paramilitary was convicted and sentenced to 150 years in prison for the enforced disappearance of six indigenous persons during the Guatemalan civil war. The trial of Felipe Cusanero, which began in 2008, was the first time a defendant was tried for enforced disappearance in Guatemala. The trial, conducted at the Criminal Court of …

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by Ximena Marinero

A Finnish court on Tuesday began the trial of former Rwandan pastor Francois Bazaramba, accused of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Bazaramba has denied charges of involvement in the genocide as well as the 15 counts of murder against him. On Tuesday, he petitioned to disqualify the trial judge for statements made to the …

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