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Legal news from Wednesday, August 1, 2012
by Dan Taglioli

Amnesty International (AI) on Wednesday published a report holding the Syrian government responsible for human rights violations in Aleppo that AI claims amount to crimes against humanity. "All-out repression: Purging dissent in Aleppo, Syria" documents how security forces and militias routinely used live fire against peaceful demonstrations in and around Aleppo and elsewhere …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

Three members of the Russian feminist activist group Pussy Riot went on trial on Monday for charges relating to their performance of a protest song in a Russian Orthodox church. The three women have been charged with "hooliganism" for their performance of the song, which sparked public outrage after a video of the performance was posted online. …

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by Dan Taglioli

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Wednesday released a 56-page document accusing Myanmar security forces of human rights abuses against a minority religious community in June. "The Government Could Have Stopped This": Sectarian Violence and Ensuing Abuses in Burma's Arakan State alleges that government security forces committed killings, rape and mass arrests following an …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

The US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Monday struck down a state law that prohibited out-of-state residents from circulating petitions for third-party candidates. Virginia law requires that candidates from parties that did not receive at least ten percent of statewide votes in a recent election to obtain a petition with …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

The French National Assembly on Tuesday unanimously adopted a new sexual harassment law that criminalizes the act, imposing a punishment of up to three years in jail. The new law comes three months after the Constitutional Council of the French Republic ruled in May that the country's sexual …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has said that he believes he should be tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to a court document filed Tuesday. Saif al-Islam has said that while he would prefer to be tried …

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by Dan Taglioli

A judge for US District Court for the District of Connecticut on Tuesday ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Judge Vanessa Bryant granted summary judgment for the plaintiffs, six married same-sex couples and one widower from the states of Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont who …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

The Bahrain government's indiscriminate use of tear gas against protesters is resulting in severe injuries and civilian deaths, according to a report released Wednesday by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). According to PHR Deputy Director Richard Sollom, the report’s lead author, tear gas "can cause permanent injuries, miscarriages, birth defects, and even fatalities …

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by Dan Taglioli

The Somalia constituent assembly on Wednesday approved a new constitution for the country, which has been without a stable central government since former president Siad Barre was ousted in 1991. The draft constitution passed with over 96 percent of the 645 ballots cast in the special 825-member assembly, which took eight days …

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by Brandon Gatto

Supporters of Proposition 8, California's same-sex marriage ban, asked the US Supreme Court on Tuesday to uphold the law after two federal courts found it unconstitutional. In their nearly 500-page petition, backers of the ban stressed the necessity for the court to decide "whether the ancient and vital institution …

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by Brandon Gatto

The High Court of Fiji on Tuesday found Laisenia Qarase, the country's last democratically-elected prime minister, guilty of nine counts of corruption under the Fiji Penal Code. Suva Court Justice Priyantha Fernando's ruling upholds the findings of a panel of assessors, convicting Qarase of six counts of abuse …

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by Sung Un Kim

The Court of Appeals in Kenya on Tuesday upheld a lower court's decision to set the date of the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections for March 4, 2013. Four of the five judges sitting for the Court of Appeals, Judges Erastus Githinji, Kalpana Rawal, Hannah Okwengu and David Maranga, affirmed the High Court's January decision while Judge …

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