[JURIST] UK House Leader Geoff Hoon [official profile] said Sunday that the government is open to compromise on a proposed addition to the draft Terrorism Bill [PDF text; Home Office overview] that would allow police to detain terrorism suspects for up to three months without bringing formal charges. The proposed measure is expected to draw criticism from opposition parties during parliamentary debate Monday, the first day of the fall session. Hoon's statement was prompted by a Sunday Independentarticle [text] that reported that UK Attorney General Lord Goldsmith [official profile] did not think the 90-day detentions could be justified. Last Thursday, Home Secretary Charles Clarke decided [JURIST report] to amend a proposed addition to the draft anti-terror legislation that would have criminalized any activity seen by police as "glorifying" terrorism, but indicated that he would continue to support provisions on the detention of terror suspects. Reuters has more.
[JURIST] California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger [official profile; JURIST news archive] has signed a bill [text] that bans the sale or rental of violent video games to minors under the age of 17, and requires retailers to label violent games as such. The bill cites several factors to be used to determine whether a video game is violent, including "infliction of gratuitous violence upon the victim beyond that necessary to commit the killing, needless mutilation of the victims body, and the helplessness of the victim." Similar legislation was passed earlier in the year by Michigan [bill text] and Illinois [bill text; JURIST report]. The video game lobby is expected to challenge the California law in court. Last year, a federal district court ruled that a Washington law that restricted violent video game sales to minors violated free speech rights [JURIST report]. Knight-Ridder has more.
[JURIST] A source close to the Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website; JURIST news archive] said Sunday that the trial of Saddam Hussein [JURIST archive], scheduled for October 19th [JURIST report], might be adjourned after several days of procedural arguments. Hussein's lawyer Khalil Dulaimi filed petitions [JURIST report] last month seeking to delay the trial, in addition to a petition challenging the jurisdiction [AP report] of the Iraqi tribunal. The source predicted that the October 19th start date would be "the beginning of an ongoing process," and cautioned reporters not to expect the appearance of witnesses or the accused during the first week of trial. Reuters has more.
[JURIST] The Iraqi government [official website] Sunday urged Iraqis to vote in the upcoming October 15 constitutional referendum [IECI fact sheet, PDF; IECIQ/A, PDF] and condemned insurgent groups for trying to reduce voter turnout. Iraqi government spokesman Laith Kuba said Sunday that a boycott would weaken Iraq and delay its rebuilding. Sunni-led fighters loyal to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi [BBC profile], leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, are trying to reduce turnout in the referendum with attacks in which at least 311 people died in the last two weeks. The insurgency is also disrupting distribution [Independent report] of copies of the proposed Iraqi constitution [JURIST news archive], creating a situation where voters will vote without ever having seen a copy of the draft charter. In order to defeat the draft, two-thirds of the voters in any three of 18 Iraqi provinces must reject it. Sunni leaders have agreed to condemn the draft constitution [JURIST report], but have failed to reach a decision on whether to boycott the referendum. AP has more.
[JURIST] The UN Refugee Agency [official website] has criticized Australia [JURIST news archive] for its strict policy of detaining illegal immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers, in comments before an Australian parliamentary inquiry. David Wright, a representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said that detention of asylum seekers and refugees is inherently undesirable and should only be used while authorities checked identities, where travel and identification papers had been lost or destroyed, or to protect public security. Australia has a tough immigration detention [official website] policy, though some changes were introduced [JURIST report] in July. Illegal immigrants and asylum seekers can spend years at remote detention camps while their applications for granting refugee status are assessed. Reuters has more.
[JURIST] The US District Court for the Western District of Kentucky [official website] has ruled that the Holy See [official website] is a foreign state subject to immunity protections of the 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act [text], placing limitations on a lawsuit by three men who allege a cover-up by the Vatican to protect priests who sexually abused children. The court dismissed the plaintiffs' argument that the Vatican is an international religious organization. The ruling has serious implications for other cases in which the Holy See appears as a defendant in the clergy sex abuse scandal [JURIST news archive]. Under the 1976 act, foreign states are generally immune from suits in US courts, but exceptions exist when states engage in commercial or certain harmful activities in the United States. In a separate clergy abuse lawsuit pending in a US district court in Texas, US government lawyers have argued that the Pope should enjoy immunity [JURIST report] as the head of the Vatican. AP has more.
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