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Legal news from Friday, July 13, 2012

[JURIST] The African Union (AU) [official website; JURIST news archive] will vote on whether to establish a continental criminal court to try human rights crimes, an AU official said Friday. Judge Gerard Niyungeko, president of the African Court on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR), said that he believes an African … [read more]

[JURIST] A Turkish court on Friday ordered the release of 16 individuals detained on accusations of having links to Kurdish militants. Busra Ersanli [personal website, in Turkish], a professor from Istanbul's Marmara University, and 15 other individuals will be released after having been detained by local authorities [Reuters report] for … [read more]

[JURIST] The Canadian government on Friday announced that it will appeal [press release] the decision of the Supreme Court of British Columbia [official website] striking down a ban on physician-assisted suicides. The Honourable Rob Nicholson [official website] for Niagara Falls, the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada … [read more]

[JURIST] A lesbian couple filed suit in the US District Court for the Central District of California [official website] on Thursday seeking to achieve for gay and lesbian couples the same immigration rights afforded to heterosexual couples. Philippine immigrant Jane DeLeon lawfully married US citizen Irma Rodriguez, 49, in California … [read more]

[JURIST] The Guttmacher Institute [official website] released a study [report, text] on Thursday detailing how the enactment of numerous anti-abortion laws over the past decade has affected the reproductive rights of American women and created discrepancies among states. The report notes that over the course of 2011 legislators in the … [read more]

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Thursday dismissed [opinion, PDF] a lawsuit against several banks, including Bank of America (BOA) and Wells Fargo & Company [corporate websites], alleging that banks engaged in price-fixing practices when setting fees for using ATMs managed by other … [read more]

[JURIST] Several natives of the US territory American Samoa [official website] on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit in Washington, DC, arguing that those born in American Samoa should be granted automatic US citizenship. The lawsuit challenges federal laws [Reuters report] that except American Samoa from the rule pertaining to all … [read more]

[JURIST] Politicians from two political parties in Russia on Friday asked the country's Constitutional Court [official website, in Russian] to consider the constitutionality of a new law that greatly increases penalties for protesters who violate demonstration regulations. The new law raised the maximum fines for participating in an unsanctioned rally … [read more]

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Friday urged Russian authorities [press release] to conduct a thorough investigation into the murder of rights activist Natalia Estemirova [BBC obituary], including an inquiry into possible official involvement in the killing. Estemirova, who was kidnapped in Grozny in July 2009 and shot … [read more]

[JURIST] Twenty Ethiopian bloggers, journalists and senior opposition politicians were sentenced Friday to terms ranging from eight years to life in prison on terrorism charges. Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] criticized [press release] the sentences, arguing that the measures taken by the government are an attempt to suppress legitimate dissent. … [read more]

[JURIST] A spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] on Friday praised [statement; press release] an announcement by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak [official website] of plans to repeal the country's 1948 Sedition Act [text, PDF]. Razak announced Wednesday that the Sedition … [read more]

[JURIST] The German government on Friday announced that it will act swiftly to lift criminal sanctions imposed on circumcision [JURIST news archive]. Spokesperson for Chancellor Angela Merkel [official website, in German], Steffen Seibert, said that without adequate protections for the practice of circumcision, Jewish and Muslim communities would not be … [read more]

[JURIST] Chile enacted an anti-discrimination law Thursday following the March beating death of a young gay man in a Santiago park. The hate crime bill [materials, in Spanish], which had been tied up in Congress for seven years after being originally introduced by ex-president Ricardo Lagos, was signed into law … [read more]

[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] on Thursday alleging that the Highland Park School District [official website] has violated state and federal law by failing to ensure that students are reading at grade level. The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County … [read more]

[JURIST] Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) [official website] Melissa Fleming on Friday reported that 10 UN staff and aid workers have been arrested in the northwestern Rakhine state of Myanmar [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] and three of them are facing unknown criminal charges. All of … [read more]

[JURIST] Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning [official website], joined by attorneys general from six other states will continue their lawsuit [complaint, PDF] challenging new health care mandates in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [text; JURIST backgrounder] that require contraception to be covered under all employer healthcare plans, … [read more]

[JURIST] The Constitutional Court of Thailand [official website] on Friday dismissed opposition party petitions challenging the ability of the ruling Puea Thai party [party website, in Thai] to amend the country's constitution. The court ruled that the parliament could amend the constitution on a piecemeal basis [BBC report] by amending … [read more]

[JURIST] Missouri Governor Jay Nixon [official website] vetoed a bill [veto letter, PDF; SB 749 materials] on Thursday that would have prohibited mandatory insurance coverage of birth control for anyone with ethical or religious objections. Nixon explained that while he supports laws that afford employers strong religious protections, SB 749 … [read more]

[JURIST] The Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona [advocacy websites] filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] on Thursday challenging an Arizona law [HB 2036 materials; JURIST report] that prohibits abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy unless there is a medical emergency. The lawsuit, filed … [read more]

[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] said Friday that the war crimes trial of former Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladic [ICTY case materials; JURIST news archive] will resume Monday after being postponed for health reasons. The presiding judge Alphons Orie said [AP report] … [read more]

[JURIST] The lower house of the Russian parliament on Friday voted to adopt a controversial bill [materials, in Russian] that will regulate the activities of non-commercial organizations (NCOs) that engage in political activity and receive foreign funding. The new law will require the organizations to register as "foreign agents," and … [read more]

[JURIST] President of the European Commission (EC) [official website] Jose Manuel Barroso [official website] on Thursday urged Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta [BBC profile] to respect the full independence of the judiciary [press release] by restoring the powers of the Constitutional Court of Romania [official website, in Romanian]. Since the … [read more]

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