[JURIST] Leading Thursday's international brief, Pakistan's North West Frontier Province [Wikipedia profile] has passed a controversial law [Pakistan Times report] reminiscent of Afghan regulatons under the former Taliban regime that will allow the government to monitor individuals' compliance with Islamic principles. The bill creates the office of "mohtasib," which will be filled by an Islamic cleric responsible for ensuring that Islamic values are adhered to in public places, as well as monitoring content in the media to ensure "publications are useful for the promotion of Islamic values". The bill was passed by the conservative Mutahida Majlis Amal, a six-party alliance that is the ruling party in the Frontier Province. Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain [Wikipedia profile], president of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League political party, called the bill unconstitutional and warned that it would cause tension between provincial governments and the national government. There is no word on the punishments for failure to conform to the bill. BBC News has more.
In other international legal news …
- Sources within China's 10th National People's Congress [official website] have stated that China's Criminal Procedure Law [text] has been placed on the legislative agenda for 2006 for a comprehensive revision. The sources said that legislators were especially concerned about provisions that allow torture to be used during police investigations [JURIST report] and permit evidence obtained by torture to be used in criminal proceedings. The willingness to revise the law is prompted by several high profile cases [JURIST report] where evidence obtained through torture was used to convict individuals later determined to be innocent, including one man executed for a rape/murder where the real killer was later identified and captured by police. Several Chinese academic legal experts have called the use of confessions obtained through torture to be China's "biggest unfairness" in their criminal justice system. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of China [JURIST news archive]. China Daily has local coverage.
- Director of the Asia-Pacific department of the International Federation of Journalists [advocacy website] has accused the Nepalese government [official website] of lying to the representatives of several international media rights organizations concerning the current situation of journalists in Nepal following the abolition of the elected government [JURIST report] on February 1. Jacqueline Park said that Nepalese officials had told the mission that journalists were able to write freely and had not been interfered with but that the mission had personally observed three journalists imprisoned for covering the Maoist rebellion. Park maintained that the mission's investigations had demonstrated that journalists operated under serious risk in Nepal. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Nepal [JURIST news archive]. Kantipur Online has local coverage.
- Families of Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea [government website, have requested that Japan [government website] extradite Shin Gwang-su, the self-confessed kidnapper of dozens of Japanese citizens in the 1960s and '70s. Shin, held as a political prisoner in South Korea until his repatriation in 2000 and treated as a national hero in North Korea, was recently revealed as the trainer of several other known kidnappers, and Japanese police officials have filed an international arrest warrant should he ever leave North Korea. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Japan [JURIST news archive]. Chosun Ilbo has local coverage.