Legal news from Wednesday, July 25, 2012

[JURIST] The UK Supreme Court [official website; press release, PDF] on Wednesday ruled that the right not to hold political opinions should be protected in the same manner as the right to affirmatively hold a political, religious or other belief. With the unanimous seven-justice ruling [opinion, PDF] the court held … [read more]

[JURIST] Massachusetts officials on Tuesday filed two documents in the US Supreme Court [official website] challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) [text; JURIST news archive]. Attorney General Martha Coakley argued in her brief [text, PDF] that Section 3 of DOMA violates the Tenth Amendment as well as the Spending … [read more]

[JURIST] A Sudanese court on Wednesday charged two men with terrorism in connection with anti-government protests last month. The two men, including one US resident, were charged with forming a terrorist organization [Reuters report] after police allegedly found materials calling for protests and a new government in their homes. Theirs … [read more]

[JURIST] Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday announced that the country would withdraw from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) [official website, in Spanish]. In a statement during a military ceremony, Chavez announced the withdrawal and criticized the regional court [Reuters report], saying it … [read more]

[JURIST] The Scottish government announced Wednesday that it plans to bring forward a draft bill that will recognize same-sex marriages [JURIST backgrounder] with the same legal rights belonging to married heterosexual couples in the country. The measures are expected to be passed [Guardian report] by the Scottish Parliament [official website] … [read more]

[JURIST] JPMorgan Chase [corporate website; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday agreed to a $100 million settlement in a case alleging that the company increased monthly minimum payments for credit card holders from 2 percent to 5 percent in 2008 and 2009 to profit from higher fees. The settlement, which was … [read more]

[JURIST] Florida Governor Rick Scott on Tuesday announced that he will appeal an injunction issued by a federal district court last month blocking a new Florida law [materials] that denies government contracts to companies that do business in Cuba or Syria. A judge for the US District Court for the … [read more]

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] on Wednesday granted another two weeks for the new Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf [BBC profile] to comply with its order to reopen the investigation against President Asif Ali Zardari [official website]. The adjournment of the case came after [Al Jazeera report] … [read more]

[JURIST] A regional court of the Philippines on Tuesday granted bail to former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] who was detained on electoral fraud charges. The court reasoned that the evidence, based mainly on a single witness' testimony, was insufficient to bring the charges against the former … [read more]

[JURIST] The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany [official website, in German] on Wednesday invalidated the country's election law [judgment, in German] as unconstitutional. Germany has a complex system that sometimes creates extra "overhang" parliamentary seats that benefit the larger parties, a result the court ruled violates constitutional guarantees [Reuters report] … [read more]

[JURIST] Mali security forces loyal to the country's coup leader, Captain Amadou Sanogo, have been abducting and torturing opposition soldiers and journalists, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [press release] Wednesday. The report says that 20 soldiers involved in a counter-coup to overthrow Sanago in April have disappeared, and … [read more]

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] released an accused Somali pirate Tuesday after prosecutors failed to produce sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. English-speaking Somali citizen Ali Mohamed Ali, 50, was scheduled to be tried next week [AP report] on charges … [read more]

[JURIST] The African Union (AU) [official website, English] and the government of Senegal agreed [HRW report] on Tuesday to create a special court to try ex-Chadian dictator Hissene Habre [JURIST news archive] for killing and torturing thousands of political opponents during his reign from 1982-1990. Habre has been living in … [read more]

[JURIST] Statistics Canada [official website] announced Tuesday that the police-reported crime rate for 2011 declined six percent [text, PDF] from 2010, reaching the lowest level since 1972. Throughout the country 1,984,916 incidents of crimes were reported in 2011—110,000 fewer than in 2010. However, despite the fact that rates for most … [read more]

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