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Legal news from Friday, December 18, 2009
by Jaclyn Belczyk

A French judge on Friday placed former French president Jacques Chirac under preliminary investigation over allegations that he misused public funds while serving as mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995. Chirac is accused of financing the Rally for the Republic (RPR), now renamed as the Union for a Popular Movement [party website, in …

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by Steve Czajkowski

The number of executions that took place in the US in 2009 was down 47 percent from 10 years ago, according to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) annual report released Friday. There were 52 executions in 2009, compared to 98 in 1999. The report also emphasized that the number of death …

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by Steve Czajkowski

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) on Friday charged Khieu Samphan, the former head of state during the Khmer Rouge regime, with genocide for his involvement in the deaths of thousands of Vietnamese and ethnic Cham Muslims. While not denying the killings took …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

A French court ruled Friday that Google violated French copyright law through its book-scanning initiative. The Parisian court fined Google €300,000 euros (USD $430,000) for digitizing books and making excerpts available on the web. The challenge was brought in 2006 by French publishing group La Martiniere, along with the French publisher's union Syndicat National …

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by Jay Carmella

The UK's 1.2 billion-pound e-Borders program initiated by Prime Minister Gordon Brown will likely be found illegal under European Union (EU) law, the British House of Commons Home Affairs Committee reported Friday. The program was intended to provide the UK Border Agency (UKBA) with …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

Suspected Mumbai terror attack gunman Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab withdrew his confession in an Indian court Friday, claiming he was tortured and framed by police. Kasab originally pleaded not guilty in May, but interrupted his trial in July to confess and change his plea to guilty. Presiding Judge Judge ML …

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by Jay Carmella

US Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez said Thursday that the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) plans to increase its efforts to prosecute hate crimes. The DOJ brought 25 federal hate crime cases during the first year of the Obama administration, which is the highest annual number since 2001. The …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

US House of Representatives minority leader John Boehner (R-OH) said Thursday that Congress could potentially block the Obama administration's plan to purchase the Thomson Correctional Center (TCC) in northwestern Illinois to house inmates from Guantanamo Bay. Boehner said that at least two pieces of legislation would have to be approved …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

A Pakistani court on Friday issued an arrest warrant for Interior Minister Rehman Malik on corruption charges, following Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling striking down an amnesty order. The Supreme Court ruled that the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), which granted immunity to President Asif Ali Zardari and 8,000 other …

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by Ann Riley

Russian human rights activist Sergei Kovalev on Wednesday urged the European Union (EU) to hold Russia accountable for human rights violations, in a speech after receiving the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Kovalev, joined by Oleg Orlov and Lyudmila Alexeyeva, accepted the award on behalf of Russian human rights group Memorial [advocacy …

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