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Legal news from Friday, July 13, 2012
by Rebecca DiLeonardo

The African Union (AU) 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 court would better understand the context of crimes …

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by Sung Un Kim

A Turkish court on Friday ordered the release of 16 individuals detained on accusations of having links to Kurdish militants. Busra Ersanli, a professor from Istanbul's Marmara University, and 15 other individuals will be released after having been detained by local authorities for allegedly being involved with the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) [GlobalSecurity …

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by Sung Un Kim

The Canadian government on Friday announced that it will appeal the decision of the Supreme Court of British Columbia striking down a ban on physician-assisted suicides. The Honourable Rob Nicholson for Niagara Falls, the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada made a public statement about the planned appeal in the …

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by Dan Taglioli

A lesbian couple filed suit in the US District Court for the Central District of California 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 in 2008, and they have now lived together for over …

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by Sung Un Kim

The Guttmacher Institute released a study 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 50 states introduced more than 1,100 provisions related to reproductive …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit against several banks, including Bank of America (BOA) and Wells Fargo & Company, alleging that banks engaged in price-fixing practices when setting fees for using ATMs managed by other banks. The three-judge panel dismissed the complaint for lack of …

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by Dan Taglioli

Several natives of the US territory American Samoa 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 that except American Samoa from the rule pertaining to all other US territories that US citizenship is bestowed as a …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

Politicians from two political parties in Russia on Friday asked the country's Constitutional Court 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 from 2,000 rubles (USD $60) to 300,000 rubles ($9,000)—a 150-fold …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday urged Russian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the murder of rights activist Natalia Estemirova, including an inquiry into possible official involvement in the killing. Estemirova, who was kidnapped in Grozny in July 2009 and shot to death, reported regularly on human rights abuses committed by …

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by Sung Un Kim

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) criticized the sentences, arguing that the measures taken by the government are an attempt to suppress legitimate dissent. AI added that the trial violated international standards. Among the …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

A spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) on Friday praised an announcement by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak of plans to repeal the country's 1948 Sedition Act. Razak announced Wednesday that the Sedition Act will be replaced with the more liberal National Harmony …

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by Sung Un Kim

The German government on Friday announced that it will act swiftly to lift criminal sanctions imposed on circumcision. Spokesperson for Chancellor Angela Merkel, Steffen Seibert, said that without adequate protections for the practice of circumcision, Jewish and Muslim communities would not be able to live in Germany because the practice is so …

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by Dan Taglioli

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, which had been tied up in Congress for seven years after being originally introduced by ex-president Ricardo Lagos, was signed into law by President Sebastian Pinera, providing for …

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by Max Slater

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) filed a lawsuit on Thursday alleging that the Highland Park School District has violated state and federal law by failing to ensure that students are reading at grade level. The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court on behalf of eight Highland Park …

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by Sung Un Kim

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Melissa Fleming on Friday reported that 10 UN staff and aid workers have been arrested in the northwestern Rakhine state of Myanmar and three of them are facing unknown criminal charges. All of the three charged are Myanmar nationals working for …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, joined by attorneys general from six other states will continue their lawsuit challenging new health care mandates in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that require contraception to be covered under all employer healthcare plans, including those of religious institutions. The seven attorneys general filed …

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by Dan Taglioli

The Constitutional Court of Thailand on Friday dismissed opposition party petitions challenging the ability of the ruling Puea Thai party to amend the country's constitution. The court ruled that the parliament could amend the constitution on a piecemeal basis by amending separate articles, but that a national referendum would be required …

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by Max Slater

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed a bill 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 gives insurance companies the ability to override the religious and …

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by Max Slater

The Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona filed a lawsuit on Thursday challenging an Arizona law that prohibits abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy unless there is a medical emergency. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of three Arizona obstetricians, argues that Arizona's ban …

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by Sung Un Kim

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) said Friday that the war crimes trial of former Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladic will resume Monday after being postponed for health reasons. The presiding judge Alphons Orie said that medical checks had not yet been completed and that …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

The lower house of the Russian parliament on Friday voted to adopt a controversial bill 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 to submit biannual reports to the government on their activities. …

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by Jamie Reese

President of the European Commission (EC) Jose Manuel Barroso on Thursday urged Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta to respect the full independence of the judiciary by restoring the powers of the Constitutional Court of Romania. Since the court last week approved the vote to suspend …

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