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Legal news from Thursday, January 24, 2013
by Jerry Votava

US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on Thursday announced plans to permit women in the US military to serve in front-line combat units. This is a significant change to the Department of Defense (DOD) 1994 direct ground combat definition and assignment rule that prohibits women from these serving in these roles. Panetta …

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by Daniel Mullen

Judge Harry Leinenweber of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on Thursday issued a 35-year prison sentence to David Coleman Headley for his role in the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, India. Headley, a US citizen of Pakistani descent, facilitated the attack by …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism Ben Emmerson announced on Thursday that he will begin investigating the legality of the use of drone strikes. Emmerson said that after asking the US to allow an independent investigation of its use of targeted killings last year, there is still no consensus among the international …

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by Brandon Gatto

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday released a report accusing the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) of failing to effectively respond to, document and investigate claims of sexual assault. The report, titled "Capitol Offense: Police Mishandling of Sexual Assault Cases in the District of Columbia," is based on a 22-month investigation …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

Police abuse and torture continue to be ongoing issues two years after the start of the Egyptian Revolution, an Egyptian rights group reported this week. In its report, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) said that police conduct has not improved since the abuses experienced under former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak [BBC profile; …

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by Brandon Gatto

A French court on Thursday ordered Twitter to allow for the identification of authors responsible for recent anti-Semitic messages, as well as to establish a mechanism to alert authorities of illegal hate messages. The lawsuit was brought by the Jewish Students' Union of France (UEJF) last October after a series …

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by Matthew Pomy

UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association Maina Kiai on Wednesday urged the UK to review certain legal and policing policies that negatively affect the right to peaceably assemble. The statement came at the end of a 10-day visit to the UK where Kiai visited with senior officials in London, …

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by Matthew Pomy

The Congress of the Philippines on Thursday approved a bill on its second reading allocating 10 billion pesos (USD $246 million) for the victims of human rights abuses committed by the regime of former president Ferdinand Marcos. Approximately 10,000 people can claim compensation based on abuses that took place between when Marcos instated martial …

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by Addison Morris

The Moroccan government plans to change Article 475 of the Moroccan Penal Code, which allows rapists to avoid charges if they marry their victims, Justice Minister Mustapha Ramid announced Tuesday. This practice is encouraged in countries such as Morocco and India, where the loss of a woman's virginity out of wedlock brings shame upon the family. Article …

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by Brandon Gatto

A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on Tuesday lifted an order that previously required the New York Police Department (NYPD) to stop using a "stop-and-frisk" practice outside of apartment buildings in the Bronx. Though she previously ruled the practice unconstitutional, Judge Shira Scheindlin ultimately agreed …

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by Matthew Pomy

The Honduras National Congress on Tuesday approved constitutional reforms to set up an impeachment process. The amendments follow a 2009 coup that removed former president Manuel Zelaya from office. There would be two steps in the new impeachment process. First, the House Special Committee …

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