International brief ~ Ethiopia opposition files suit over elections
D. Wes Rist at 4:33 PM ET
[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's international brief, the leading opposition party in Ethiopia [DC Embassy website] has filed suit with local courts in the capital city of Addis Ababa seeking to prevent the official certification of the results of the disputed national elections [JURIST report] held 15 May. The Coalition for Unity and Democracy [party website] claims that nation-wide fraud and electoral misconduct denied it the majority it actually won in the Ethiopian Parliament [government website] and has claimed that an official tally released Monday by the ruling party Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front [Wikipedia entry] was actually tampered with to ensure a slim majority for the EPRDF. CUD claimed that the announcement of the tally by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia [official website] was improper in light of its currently filed complaints which have not been addressed. CUD is also seeking to have a one month post-election ban on public demonstrations lifted. CUD claims that the ban, imposed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi [official profile], is illegal and should be struck down by the court. Read CUD's official press release [PDF text]. Ethiomedia has local coverage.
In other international legal news ...
- ZimOnline [media website] reports that Zimbabwe soldiers have seized the personal property and furniture of the tens of thousands of residents evicted from their illegal makeshift dwellings [JURIST report] in the capital Harare and burnt the items in bonfires beside checkpoints on the roads out of the city. The residents have complained to the government, saying that the furniture and private property were not subject to seizure under the government's recent crackdown on illegal housing. Defence Minister Sydney Sekeremayi told reporters that no orders had been given to soldiers authorizing this conduct and that an official investigation would be opened if the reports were credible. The Harare State Commission spokesperson Lesley Gwindi told ZimOnline that the tens of thousands of now-homeless individuals would not be relocated by the government and must "sort themselves out." An American national was arrested Monday [ZimOnline report] under Zimbabwe's Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act for filming scenes of police in the Zimbabwean city of Mutare enforcing the government's crackdown on illegal merchants and housing. The AIPPA prohibits private individuals from acting as journalists in Zimbabwe unless they have a journalist's license. Howard Smith Gillman could face two years in jail, if convicted. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. ZimOnline has local coverage.
- The Nepal Bar Association [official website] announced Tuesday that its members would no longer represent clients before the Royal Commission on Corruption Control as it views the body as unconstitutional. The RCCC, created [JURIST report] by King Gyanendra [official profile] following his 1 February declaration of a state of emergency [JURIST report], has the power to indict, try, and punish government officials and former government officials it believes to have violated graft and corruption laws. The Commission is currently hearing charges against former Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba [Wikipedia profile], former Interior Minister Prakashman Singh, and other members of the democratic government dissolved by Gyanendra for allegedly accepting bribes in the Melamchi Drinking Water Project. The RCCC announced Tuesday [Kantipur Online report] that it was demanding nearly $71,000 USD in bail from each of the five defendants. Dueba, Singh, and the others maintain that the prosecutions are politically motivated and recently sued the RCCC [JURIST report] for its continued prosecution of the former government officials. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Nepal [JURIST news archive]. Kantipur Online has local coverage.
- Kenyan Director of Medical Services James Nyikal announced on Monday that the Kenyan government would be seeking approval of the Tobacco Control Bill 2004, which would outlaw all public smoking in the entire country of Kenya [government website]. The bill also includes a 15% tax increase on tobacco products and contains provisions that would funnel money raised from tobacco taxes back to educating and treating those hospitalized with tobacco related diseases. Nyikal said that, unlike neighboring countries' bans, which are rarely enforced, the Kenyan ban would be strictly adhered to, with heavy fines and even possible imprisonment as penalties for offenders. Kenya's Daily Nation has local coverage.
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