International brief ~ Israel to release hundreds of Palestinian detainees
International brief ~ Israel to release hundreds of Palestinian detainees

[JURIST] In Thursday's international brief, Israel [government website] has announced its approval of a plan to release as many as 900 detained Palestinians in coming weeks. The details of the exact number of prisoners to be released, and the conditions for their release, have yet to be determined, but the announcement was accompanied by a pledge to begin withdrawing Israeli forces from several West Bank cities. Some of the elements will be discussed at the summit scheduled for next week in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt. The meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, hosted by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak [official profile], will be the highest-level meeeting since Sharon came to power. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage [JURIST Countries archive] of Israel. The Jerusalem Post has local coverage.

In other international legal news …

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website] signed a resolution Thursday authorizing Russian troops to join the UN peacekeeping mission to the Sudan. The resolution specified that the troops would come from the Interior Ministry [official website; English version], which includes police and military units. No word has been released on the size or timeframe of the approved troop deployment. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.
  • In the continuing upheaval following the dismissal of the Nepalese government [JURIST report] by King Gyanendra [BBC profile], a complete censorship of all media reports critical of the government has been implemented for six months. The ban, declared Tuesday, forbids all media sources from publishing any report critical of the Nepalese government [sacked government website] and the King specifically and has only recently been relayed to the outside world, as phone lines and internet providers remain shut down by state order. Several official and independent Nepalese news websites have been "frozen", with no new material posted since the King announced [Kantipur Online report of pending announcement] that he was taking over the government. The US State Department has issued a warning to all US citizens [official State Department notice] travelling abroad recommending that they avoid Nepal. AFP has more.
  • Four soldiers accused of planning three coup attempts to oust President Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya [official profile] in the last two years were sentenced to life imprisonment Thursday in Mauritania [government website in Arabic]. Spectators at the courtroom burst into applause as the court announced the verdicts for the 195 individuals tried. 84 individuals were convicted on charges of plotting a coup and attempted rebellion, while over 100 were acquitted. Only four received life imprisonment, and none of the convicted received the death penalty, as requested by prosecutors. Three opposition leaders, including ex-president Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidallah, were acquitted of charges of financing the attempted rebellions. AFP has more.