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Legal news from Thursday, July 21, 2011
by Chris Morris

Statistics Canada reported Thursday that Canadian crime rates have hit their lowest levels since 1973. Crime fell 5 percent in 2010 to just over two million crimes committed. Experts cite Canada's aging population as well as keeping children in school longer as major reasons for the decline. The recent statistics have led opponents …

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by Julia Zebley

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday urged the government of Malaysia to release six leaders of the opposition Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) who are being held for organizing a rally earlier this month. Originally they were charged with "preparing to wage war against the king," but …

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by Maureen Cosgrove

A UK court on Thursday ruled that four elderly Kenyans could sue Britain's government on claims related to torture that took place during a 1950s anti-colonial rebellion. The Kenyans, who are now over 70 years old, allege that they were beaten and sexually assaulted by British administration officers attempting to quell the Mau Mau uprising …

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by Julia Zebley

Both the prosecution and the defense in the case of alleged Nazi Sandor Kepiro have announced they will be appealing a Hungarian court's decision to acquit. Kepiro was acquitted of participating in the 1942 Novi Sad massacre in Serbia. Prosecutor Zsolt Falvai declared the acquittal unfounded and said the three-judge panel had misinterpreted his evidence. …

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by Chris Morris

The US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Thursday voted in favor of reinstituting a directive known as the "Mexico City policy," or "Global Gag Rule," that prohibits government funding from going to international organizations that perform abortions or provide information, referrals and counselors regarding abortions. The provision, which includes an exception for …

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by Maureen Cosgrove

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (HICA) and several other civil rights groups jointly filed a motion for preliminary injunction on Thursday in an effort to prevent an Alabama immigration law from taking effect on September 1. The motion, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District …

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by Chris Morris

Three accused Somali pirates pleaded not guilty Wednesday to hijacking a US vessel that resulted in the deaths of four US citizens. Their charges included murder, piracy, hostage taking and violence against maritime navigation resulting in death, among other charges. The men were charged earlier this month in the US District Court …

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by Julia Zebley

The UN Security Council on Wednesday made their first official statement implicating climate change as a serious threat to world peace and security. At the urging of Germany, which released a Concept Note to lead the discussion, the Security Council debated global warming for the first time since 2007. …

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by Maureen Cosgrove

Somali children continue to be victims of war crimes, Amnesty International (AI) said Thursday. In a report entitled "In the Line of Fire: Somalia's Children Under Attack," AI provides evidence indicating that armed conflict in areas of Somalia has led to deteriorating human rights conditions, particularly for children. Armed military and civilian forces, …

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by Chris Morris

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara signed a decree Wednesday establishing a commission of inquiry to investigate crimes and human rights violations that took place during post-election violence between pro-Ouattara forces and forces loyal to former president Laurent Gbagbo. The commission will investigate the abuses and provide recommendations for …

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by Julia Zebley

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa won a criminal libel claim on Thursday against the owners and a columnist of newspaper El Universo, resulting in fines of USD $40 million and a three-year sentence for the offending journalist and editors. Emilio Palacio, Nicholas …

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by Maureen Cosgrove

The Australian government announced Thursday that it will sue former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks for royalties from his memoir. Hicks spent more than five years without trial in US custody after being captured in Afghanistan following the terror attacks of 9/11. He wrote an autobiography last year entitled "Guantanamo: My …

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by Erin Bock

Guinea authorities have arrested between 70 and 80 suspects accused of plotting an attack on President Alpha Conde Wednesday. Assailants launched rocket-propelled grenades at Condes' home, and three people were killed, including one of his bodyguards. The suspects include former army leader General Nouhou Thiam and a past member of Conde's presidential guard. Conde delivered …

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