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Legal news from Thursday, December 15, 2011
by Jaclyn Belczyk

There were only 78 new death sentences handed down in the US in 2011—the first time that number has dropped below 100 since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976—according to a report published Thursday by the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC). There were 43 executions in 13 states in 2001, down from …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

The two-year sodomy trial of Malaysian opposition leader and former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim came to a close Thursday with the prosecution delivering its closing arguments. Under Malaysian law, sodomy is punishable by 20 years in prison regardless of consent. The charges against Anwar allege that he sodomized a former male political aide. …

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by Brandon Gatto

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Thursday that Syrian army commanders and officials have ordered troops to attack unarmed protesters in an all-out effort to stop public demonstrations. These allegations are detailed in an 88-page report based on more than 60 interviews with defectors from the Syrian military and intelligence agencies who describe, in specific detail, how …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue on Wednesday vetoed legislation that would have essentially repealed the state's Racial Justice Act. The 2009 law, which allows death row inmates to appeal their sentences based on statistical evidence of racism, was designed to address concerns that racial bias plays a role in sentencing. …

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by Jennie Ryan

An Egyptian military court on Thursday reduced the sentence of a blogger charged with criticizing the military. The court reduced the three-year sentence of blogger Maikel Nabil to two years. Nabil was convicted and sentenced to prison in April for criticizing the Egyptian army and raising questions over reform in the wake of revolution. The 25-year-old blogger …

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by Jennie Ryan

The White House on Wednesday announced that President Barack Obama no longer intends to veto the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012. The about face comes after revisions by lawmakers that address the concerns of the Obama administration related to the treatment of terror suspects. The administration had threatened to veto the legislation [JURIST …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

Algerian lawmakers on Wednesday approved a controversial new media law that critics say will impede freedom of expression. The law restricts journalists from undermining Algeria's sovereignty, national identity, economy and security, providing for fines up to USD $3,900 and jail time. The law has been criticized for being vague and overbroad by groups such as the Algerian …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

A French court on Thursday convicted former president Jacques Chirac on corruption charges, handing him a two-year suspended sentence. The charges stem from his time as mayor of the city of Paris and accused him of using public funds to support his political ambitions. In September, the prosecution asked the court to drop all …

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