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Legal news from Friday, June 4, 2010
by Sarah Miley

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Thursday announced during a local TV broadcast that he will not sign a controversial law that would grant him several presidential powers for life, even if he stepped down from office. Nazarbayev would be given a significant amount of power [RFE/RL report] under the amendment, including being named the "leader …

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by Hillary Stemple

Three tobacco companies on Thursday joined a lawsuit challenging a New York City Department of Health regulation requiring stores to display graphic anti-tobacco ads where tobacco products are sold. Altria Group, Lorillard, and Reynolds American joined the suit filed by New York City retailers in the US District Court for the …

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by Hillary Stemple

Authorities in India announced Friday that Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone gunmen to survive the three-day siege of Mumbai that killed 166 in November 2008, has filed an appeal challenging his conviction. Kasab, a Pakistani national, was convicted last month for his role in the terrorist attack, which was …

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by Sarah Miley

An Argentine federal court on Thursday commenced trial proceedings for five ex-military officials allegedly responsible for the death of 65 left-wing activists during the nation's 1976-83 "Dirty War". The former dictators are charged with the illegal detention, torture, and murder of detainees at a secret Buenos Aires facility known as Automotores Orletti. The detentions …

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by Hillary Stemple

Senior UN officials on Thursday condemned the killing of human rights activist Floribert Chebeya in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and called for an investigation into his murder. Chebeya was found dead in his car on Wednesday, one day after being asked to attend a meeting at the office of the inspector general of the …

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by Dwyer Arce

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday pardoned or commuted the sentences of 81 protesters arrested following the disputed 2009 presidential election. The pardons were made upon the request of the head of the Supreme Judicial System of Iran, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani [official website, in …

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by Hillary Stemple

UN rights experts on Thursday called on the UN Human Rights Council to investigate findings from a report released earlier this year detailing the secret imprisonment of terrorism suspects by 66 countries including the US, Ethiopia, Romania, and Pakistan. UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading …

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by Sarah Miley

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday lauded the Turkish government for its conviction of several prison and police officials for the torture and death of anti-government activist Engin Ceber while in police custody. Tuesday's conviction marks the first time a Turkish court has convicted a senior prison official for the conduct of guards under his …

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by Dwyer Arce

A joint statement issued by the US and EU on Thursday emphasized the need to respect international human rights and religious freedom in counter-terrorism efforts. The EU-US 2010 Declaration on Counter-Terrorism was adopted by the Council of the European Union and US representatives in Luxembourg. The declaration affirms the commitment of the US and EU governments …

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by Ann Riley

The US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on Thursday began the trial of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich on charges of federal honest services fraud, racketeering, attempted extortion, bribery, conspiracy to commit bribery, and conspiracy to commit extortion. US District Judge James Zagel questioned 29 potential jurors on the first day …

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by Ann Riley

The European Commission announced Thursday that it would pursue legal action against the UK for its failure to comply with EU air quality standards. The Directive on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe [Directive 2008/50/EC materials] limits the concentrations of certain air pollutants, such as harmful airborne particulates called PM10, and requires action …

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