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Legal news from Thursday, December 22, 2011
by Julia Zebley

On Thursday, former Ukraine prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko announced that she will discontinue all appeals and that she will solely rely on the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to intervene in her conviction. Tymoshenko is under indefinite detention after being denied release …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

A judge for the US District Court for the District of South Carolina on Thursday blocked portions of South Carolina's controversial immigration law. The legislation requires police officers to check a suspect's immigration status during a lawful stop, seizure, detention or arrest if they believe the person may be in the country illegally …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit by a former Guantanamo Bay detainee alleging that he was subjected to torture. Abdul Rahim Abdul Razak Al Ginco, a Syrian national who prefers the surname Janko, filed the lawsuit in …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Wednesday said that the Bahrain government should release prisoners detained during peaceful protests and focus on rebuilding national trust in the government. Pillay's statement follows a visit by a team of human rights officials to Bahrain last week at the invitation of the Bahrain government. Pillay …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

The French National Assembly approved a draft law Thursday that would outlaw genocide denial, including the World War I-era killings of more than one million Armenians by Turkish soldiers. The measure would ban genocide denial generally, but it has sparked a diplomatic row with Turkey, which does not classify the killings as a …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

Puerto Rican lawmakers on Wednesday approved legislation to hold a referendum on the island's status with the US. The House of Representatives passed the measure by a vote of 31-13, and a plebiscite will be held on November 6, 2012, coinciding with next year's general elections and the island's gubernatorial election. …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

The Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday rejected a proposal to establish a single national securities regulatory body to replace the current system managed by individual provinces and territories. Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty introduced the legislation in May 2010, and it was submitted to the Supreme …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

Ethiopia's anti-terrorism law is "fundamentally flawed and being used to repress legitimate reporting," Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Wednesday. HRW made the statement after two Swedish journalists were convicted Wednesday of supporting terrorism under Ethiopia's Anti-Terrorism Proclamation of 2009. The journalists, who face up to 15 years in prison, were on a …

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by Jennie Ryan

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday criticized the Kyrgyz Supreme Court for upholding a guilty verdict in a trial it claims was marred by allegations of torture, violence and threats. In its ruling on December 20, the Kyrgyz Supreme Court upheld a verdict against eight ethnic Uzbeks who were found guilty of killing a policeman …

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by Jennie Ryan

The New York Times (NYT) filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday alleging the government violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in refusing to release legal memoranda related to targeted killings of terror suspects. The suit relates to the death of the US-born radical Muslim cleric Anwar …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Wednesday that Bank of America (BOA) has agreed to pay a record $335 million to settle claims that its subsidiary, Countrywide Financial, discriminated against Hispanic and African-American home buyers. According to the DOJ complaint, Countrywide engaged in a pattern of discriminatory conduct, charging minority …

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by Julia Zebley

The US House of Representatives on Tuesday passed the Belarus Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2011, imposing new sanctions on Belarus in reaction to what the bill's author calls "the worst political crackdown in Europe in well over a decade." If signed, the law would label President Alexander Lukashenko [BBC profile; …

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