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Legal news from Friday, February 22, 2013

[JURIST] Puerto Rico's Supreme Court [official website, in Spanish] on Wednesday upheld [judgment, PDF, in Spanish] a law banning same-sex couples from adopting children. The case was brought by a woman who wanted to adopt the child of her partner of 20 years. In a 5-4 judgment, the court upheld … [read more]

[JURIST] Germany's parliament [official website, in German] approved a new election law [text, PDF, in German; press release, in German] Thursday that will help the small political parties gain legislative seats. Germany uses a mixed-member proportional representation voting system which has voters cast two ballots, one for a constituent and … [read more]

[JURIST] Thirteen Egyptian human rights organizations on Wednesday alleged [statement, in Arabic] that Egypt's Ministry of Interior [official website, in Arabic] is responsible for police brutality and the deaths of protesters that have occurred since January 25. The report said the recent crimes occurred in prisons, police stations, detention centers … [read more]

[JURIST] Advocates for same-sex marriage submitted briefs to the US Supreme Court [official website] Thursday in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry [docket; cert. petition, PDF] for the respondent couples, as well as for the City and County of San Fransisco [briefs, PDF]. The advocates urged the court to find … [read more]

[JURIST] A Haitian judge on Thursday ordered former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier [CBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] to appear in court for a hearing on whether he should face charges for human rights abuses. The summons follows a previous order [JURIST report] from nearly two weeks ago by a Haitian appeals … [read more]

[JURIST] Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin [official profile] and her sister were convicted Thursday of corruption for misusing state-paid staffers to do campaign work and win a seat on the bench. The sisters were convicted for work done on Melvin's 2003 and 2009 Supreme Court campaigns. Melvin was … [read more]

[JURIST] A pre-trial judge for the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon [official website; UN backgrounder] on Thursday delayed the trial [decision, PDF, in French] of four Hezbollah [CFR backgrounder] militants charged with the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. Counsel for … [read more]

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged the Malian government on Thursday to prosecute soldiers [press release] who participate in violence toward suspected Islamist rebels and supporters. Government soldiers have allegedly participated in torture, summary executions and enforced disappearances that began after the French-led offensive in January helped Malian … [read more]

[JURIST] The judge presiding over the 9/11 military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] has granted defense lawyers access for the first time to Camp 7, the secret facility where detainees are housed. In an order Tuesday that remains classified, Army Col. James Pohl [Miami Herald backgrounder; JURIST news archive] … [read more]

[JURIST] An Australian judge ruled [judgment] Thursday that the nation's ban on same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] does not amount to gender discrimination, dismissing a challenge to the law. The ruling upholds the decision of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) [official website] to terminate the complaint of sex discrimination … [read more]

[JURIST] The Arkansas House of Representatives [official website] on Thursday voted 80-10 in favor of a bill [HB 1037, PDF] that would ban all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy except in cases of rape, incest or to save the mother's life. The bill, commonly referred to as The Pain … [read more]

[JURIST] Mexican security forces have enforced or participated in widespread "disappearances" [press release] in which individuals are taken against their will, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported Wednesday. The rights group has documented at least 250 "disappearances" [report, PDF] since 2007. In most of these cases, security forces failed … [read more]

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