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Legal news from Friday, May 20, 2011

[JURIST] Russian President Dmitry Medvedev [official profile; JURIST news archive] expressed the need for Russia to improve its legal system and make a better commitment to the rule of law, during a speech [text] at a legal forum in St. Petersburg. Medvedev is trying to separate himself [Reuters report] from … [read more]

[JURIST] A Somali man pleaded guilty [FBI press release] to charges of piracy and hostage taking on Friday in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website] for overtaking a yacht containing four American citizens. The Americans, taken as hostages, were later killed by the pirates, … [read more]

[JURIST] A lawsuit by relatives of 9/11 [JURIST news archive] victims has alleged that Iran knowingly aided [press release] al Qaeda [JURIST news archive] in carrying out the attacks, according to affidavits [memo of law, PDF] filed Thursday. Included in the affidavits, but under seal from the judge, are the … [read more]

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Thursday granted $300 million in punitive damages in each of two cases against Iran for deaths resulting from suicide bombings by Iranian-backed terrorist groups. The two claims against Iran were brought on behalf of … [read more]

[JURIST] The French Court of Cassation [official website, in French], the country's highest appeals court, ruled that the corruption trial against former French president Jacques Chirac [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] can continue, rejecting a constitutional challenge brought by one of his co-defendants. Chirac is being tried for allegedly misusing … [read more]

[JURIST] Belarus' Minsk City Court delivered suspended sentences on Friday to two former presidential candidates, Uladzimer Nyaklyaeu and Vital Rymasheuski, convicted of organizing protests following the re-election [JURIST report] of President Alexander Lukashenko [BBC profile, JURIST news archive] in December. The two-year suspended sentences [RFE/RL report] were handed down days … [read more]

[JURIST] A military court in Taiwan indicted a one-star general who confessed to spying for China on Friday. General Lo Hsien-che confessed [CNA report] to accepting bribes and divulging state secrets since March 2004. Due to his confession and relinquishment of bribes, the prosecutors plan to seek life in prison … [read more]

[JURIST] Texas Governor Rick Perry [official website] signed into law Thursday a bill [HB 15 text; materials] that requires women seeking an abortion [JURIST news archive] to first get a sonogram. The law requires doctors to conduct a ultrasound and display the images at least 24 hours prior to an … [read more]

[JURIST] Japan announced Friday that they will be signing the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction [text] at next week's G8 summit [Guardian archiver]. Signatories of the Convention are required to return a child who has been "wrongfully removed" from his or her country of … [read more]

[JURIST] Top US congressional leaders agreed Thursday to put forth a clean extension of controversial provisions of the USA Patriot Act [text; JURIST news archive] until 2015. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) [official websites] agreed to … [read more]

[JURIST] Uruguay's House of Representatives [official website, in Spanish] failed to partially repeal [El Pais report, in Spanish] the 1986 Expiry Law [text, in Spanish] on Thursday in a vote of 49-49. The Senate [official website, in Spanish] voted to void the amnesty law [JURIST report] last month, and, with … [read more]

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [official website] has asked [order, PDF] challengers of the new health care reform law [text; JURIST news archive] to defend the legality of their participation in the case. The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) [advocacy website] is challenging the constitutionality … [read more]

[JURIST] US State Department [official website] Legal Adviser Harold Koh on Thursday defended the killing [JURIST report] of Osama Bin Laden [JURIST news archives] saying it was "consistent with the laws of armed conflict and US military doctrine" in a brief statement [text] published on OpinioJuris.org. Koh referenced a speech … [read more]

[JURIST] The Rhode Island House of Representatives [official website] approved a civil union bill [Bill 2011-H6103aa, PDF] Thursday by a vote of 62 to 11 [press release]. The bill was voted out of committee [JURIST report] earlier this week and is modeled after similar legislation in Illinois, Delaware and Hawaii … [read more]

[JURIST] A coalition of more than 30 rights groups and development organizations in Cambodia issued an open letter [text, PDF] Thursday urging the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website] to embrace a greater degree of transparency. In the letter, the groups outline "grave concerns" that the … [read more]

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