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Legal news from Thursday, February 23, 2012
by Brandon Gatto

A Guantanamo Bay detainee reached a plea agreement with military prosecutors on Wednesday that included an agreement to testify against other detainees. Under the agreement, detainee Majid Khan, a 31-year-old former Baltimore-area resident, will be required to testify at the trials of other detainees in exchange for a greatly reduced sentence and eventual freedom. Khan …

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by Brandon Gatto

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Thursday ruled that Italy violated international human rights laws when a group of Somalian and Eritrean migrants traveling from Libya were intercepted by Italian authorities and returned to Libya. The court found that Italy violated Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights by exposing …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on Wednesday was granted permission by a pretrial chamber to expand his investigation of war crimes in the Ivory Coast to incidents dating back to 2002. Ocampo began his investigation in October, focusing on alleged post-election violence beginning …

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by Jamie Reese

The Council of Europe's (COE) Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Punishment (CPT) published a report Wednesday rejecting the practice of surgical castration as a means of treatment for sexual offenders. In Germany, surgical castration as a means for treatment must be initiated at the request of the offender, …

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by Katherine Getty

The Virginia House of Delegates passed a watered-down version of a controversial ultrasound bill Wednesday, which requires women seeking an abortion have a transabdomenal ultrasound before going through with the procedure. The bill differs from the controversial one passed by the Senate earlier this month which originally required women to …

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by Katherine Getty

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Tuesday extended the mandate for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) for the next three years. The independent tribunal was set up by the Lebanese government to try the suspected perpetrators of the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) on Thursday sent a letter to Google, singed by 36 state attorneys general, expressing concerns about the company's new privacy policy. The new policy, which is scheduled to go into effect on March 1, allows a user's information to be shared among …

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by Jamie Reese

A judge for the US District Court for the Western District of Washington ruled Wednesday that requiring pharmacies to sell Plan B and other emergency contraceptives violates the pharmacists' constitutional right to freedom of religion. Under Washington law [WAC § 246-869-010] pharmacies are required to deliver lawfully prescribed medications or devices and to distribute drugs …

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by Jennie Ryan

Former Philippines president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges of electoral fraud. Arroyo is accused of rigging senate elections in favor of the candidates she supported in 2007. Arroyo was formally charged in December with corruption and election fraud during her presidency. She was arrested the day after on …

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by Jennie Ryan

Members of the Indiana chapter of an electrical engineers union filed suit on Wednesday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana seeking to block implementation of the state's new right-to-work legislation. The suit, filed by the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, argues that the law …

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by Kevin Green

A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled Wednesday that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. The plaintiff, Karen Golinski, filed suit against the US Office of Personnel Management for refusing extend health insurance benefits to her same-sex spouse. Judge …

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by Julia Zebley

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases on Tuesday. In United States v. Alvarez, the court heard arguments on the constitutionality of the Stolen Valor Act (SVA). Xavier Alvarez was convicted under the SVA in 2007 after he announced at a public water district board meeting that …

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by Saheli Chakrabarty

The UN-appointed Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria on Wednesday accused Syria of violating international human rights law after finding that Syrian forces are engaging in torture and killings under orders from high level government officials. Military forces under Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have been shelling opposition strongholds in the city …

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by Julia Zebley

The US Supreme Court ruled 6-3 Tuesday in Messerschmidt v. Millender that police officers continue to have qualified immunity if a search warrant is later found invalid. Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, noted that the bar set in United States v. Leon is a high standard, where officers cannot …

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