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Legal news from Thursday, July 19, 2012
by Dan Taglioli

Former Liberian president Charles Taylor on Thursday appealed his conviction and 50-year sentence for war crimes committed during the civil war in Sierra Leone. Taylor's appeal states that the the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) made "systematic errors" in evaluating evidence and relied on hearsay …

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by Sung Un Kim

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Wednesday temporarily stayed a Maryland Court of Appeals ruling that police could not collect DNA from individuals arrested for violent crimes and burglaries. The appeals court struck down the DNA collection law in April, finding a violation of the …

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by Sung Un Kim

The Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament, is expected to vote on a bill that would protect religious circumcision in Germany. The session came a week after the German government announced its plan to act swiftly to lift criminal sanctions imposed on circumcision. Spokesperson …

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by Dan Taglioli

The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) released its annual mid-year report summarizing some of the trends observed in 2012 in the ongoing US reproductive rights controversy and highlighting some of what the CRR considers the most damaging proposals that became law this year. The 2012 Mid-Year Legislative Wrap-Up includes details on …

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by Sung Un Kim

Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court ruled Thursday that it does not have jurisdiction over two cases related to the decree issued by the newly elected President Mohammed Morsi to reconvene parliament and the constitutional declaration by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) that gave the military broad authority including legislative power. …

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by Dan Taglioli

The Brennan Center for Justice released a report on Tuesday describing the burden on Americans who must obtain government-issued photo ID to comply with restrictive state voter ID laws. The Challenge of Obtaining Voter Identification is the first comprehensive assessment of the difficulties that eligible voters face in obtaining free photo ID in …

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by Sung Un Kim

A Tunisian military court on Thursday sentenced the country's former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in absentia to life in prison for his involvement in the killing of 43 protesters during last year's Tunisian revolution which resulted in the death of more than 200 protesters. The court found Ben Ali guilty …

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by Dan Taglioli

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Wednesday offered its services to aid the government of Ethiopia in a proposed review of its anti-terrorism and civil society legislation. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay proposed the review as she expressed serious concern over the intimidation of …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said Wednesday that her office is opening a preliminary examination of the recent violence in Mali. Bensouda said that she had received a letter from Malian government officials requesting an ICC investigation. The letter also indicated that Malian …

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by Sung Un Kim

UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women Rashida Manjoo on Wednesday urged the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan to end violence against women and to initiate investigations into the recent killings of two women. Fareeda Afridi, a human rights defender in Pakistan, was recently shot …

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by Dan Taglioli

Bank of America (BOA) agreed Tuesday to pay $375 million in a settlement with bond insurer Syncora Guarantee over claims that Syncora was misled into insuring toxic mortgage-backed securities of BOA-owned Countrywide Financial Corporation. Syncora filed a lawsuit against BOA and Countrywide in 2009 claiming that Countrywide had misrepresented the quality of the …

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by Michael Haggerson

The Russian Federal Council, the upper house of parliament, approved a bill on Wednesday that labels nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that accept international funding as "foreign agents." Critics of President Vladimir Putin argue that this is another piece of legislation that is intended to curb free speech [RFE/RL report] and the right to assembly. …

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