Legal news from Tuesday, November 22, 2005
20:11 EDT

[JURIST] The US Commerce Department [official website] said on Tuesday that it will comply with a NAFTA ruling to reduce duties it placed on softwood lumber [CBC News backgrounder] from Canada although emphasizing its disagreement with the ruling. According to the department, duties on lumber will be reduced from 16 [read more]

20:11 EDT

[JURIST] Two men have been charged for leaking a UK government memo that led to a newspaper report Tuesday that said UK Prime Minister Tony Blair [official profile] had talked President Bush out of bombing the Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera [official website]. The memo, which reportedly was a transcription of [read more]

19:11 EDT

[JURIST] Organizers of a gay rights [JURIST news archive] parade in Poland [JURIST news archive] on Tuesday sued the mayor of Poznan for banning the event. The group has alleged that the ban violated their right to freedom of assembly and expression. Despite the ban, several hundred gay rights advocates [read more]

19:11 EDT

[JURIST] The US on Tuesday threatened to hold up approval of a two-year UN budget unless reforms agreed to in September were acted on by the end of the year. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan [official profile] said the reform proposals would not be ready for action until February, according to [read more]

18:11 EDT

[JURIST] Mexico's National Commission for Human Rights [official website, in Spanish] on Tuesday said that the country's police and prosecutors continue to use torture [JURIST news archive] despite pledges by President Vicente Fox [official website, in Spanish] to halt such tactics. Jose Luis Soberanes [IIJ profile], president of the commission, [read more]

16:11 EDT

[JURIST] The Uzbekistan Supreme Court Tuesday took the remarkable step of issuing a statement defending its recently-concluded trial of 15 individuals accused of leading a May, 2005 uprising [JURIST report] in the town of Andijan which led to the 15 being sentenced to 14 to 20 years in prison [BBC [read more]

15:11 EDT

[JURIST] The Texas Supreme Court [official website] Tuesday declared a statewide property tax unconstitutional because it sets a cap limit that most school districts are at or near already. The ruling [text] partly affirmed and partly reversed a prior decision by District Judge John Dietz [JURIST report] which also held [read more]

15:11 EDT

[JURIST] The US Education Department [official website] on Tuesday planned to send to states initiatives easing some requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) [PDF text; executive summary; US Dept. Ed. fact sheet], which educators have roundly criticized for its rigidity. In an effort to gain [read more]

15:11 EDT

[JURIST] During a hearing in a high-security Madrid court Tuesday, defendants in the largest trial of accused members of Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) [BBC backgrounder] refused to answer any questions regarding their alleged crimes or their involvement in the pro-Basque organization. All 56 individuals accused of ties to ETA [JURIST [read more]

15:11 EDT

[JURIST] AP is reporting that a federal jury has found Ahmed Omar Abu Ali [JURIST news archive] guilty of joining al Qaeda and plotting to assassinate President Bush [PDF indictment]. Abu Ali was arrested in Saudi Arabia in 2003 and his trial began last month [JURIST report] after US District [read more]

14:11 EDT

[JURIST] Leaders of Bosnia's three main ethnic groups Tuesday agreed to a deal on revisions to that country's constitution [text] that would consolidate governmental power in a strong national government. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [official profile] lauded the accord, saying it was the first step in the war-torn [read more]

14:11 EDT

[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's environmental law news, new water pollution standards designed to protect the Chesapeake Bay went into effect Monday. The Virginia regulations establish new limits on the levels of nitrogen and phosphorus that can be discharged by municipal sewage treatment plants and industrial facilities. The regulations were approved by [read more]

13:11 EDT

[JURIST] US Rep. Tom DeLay [official website; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday asked a Texas judge to dismiss the felony conspiracy charges against him. Senior Judge Pat Priest refused to make an immediate ruling on the case, saying he wanted to read the briefs from both parties before ruling on [read more]

13:11 EDT

[JURIST] Following the latest delay [JURIST report] in the Slobodan Milosevic [JURIST news archive] war crimes trial, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website]) said Tuesday that it has ordered a hearing on November 29 to hear arguments on splitting the trial. The ICTY asked the [read more]

12:11 EDT

[JURIST] Leaders of the Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) [official website] on Tuesday unveiled a proposal to amend the military clause in the country's pacifist constitution in an effort to create armed forces that are assertive on an international level. Speaking to a crowd assembled to honor the party's [read more]

12:11 EDT

[JURIST] Iraq Interior Minister Bayan Jabr [CBS News profile] has again denied [JURIST report] that he controls death squads targeting Iraq's Sunni minority and ordered the torture of detainees in a secret prison [JURIST report]. In a New York Times interview reported Tuesday, he dismissed the story of the secret [read more]

11:11 EDT

[JURIST] Prison officials at Russia's Krasnokamensk penitentiary, which is holding jailed oil tycoon Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky [advocacy profile; JURIST news archive], is deliberately hampering the work of his defense lawyers, according to a statement [text] Tuesday on Khodorkovsky's defense website. According to Khodorkovsky's lawyers, prison officials have kept three lawyers [read more]

11:11 EDT

[JURIST] An advisor to the European Union's highest court, the European Court of Justice [court website], advised the body Tuesday that sharing airline passenger data with the US should be declared illegal [PDF press release]. Advocate General Philippe Leger said the European Commission used the wrong legal basis when enacting [read more]

10:11 EDT

[JURIST] Conrad Black [CBC profile], the media tycoon and former chairman of Hollinger International recently indicted on criminal fraud charges [JURIST report] failed to appear for his arraignment in a Chicago courtroom Tuesday. The arraignment was delayed until November 30 [Reuters report] after Black's lawyers requested additional time from prosecutors [read more]

10:11 EDT

[JURIST] Austrian prosecutors filed charges Tuesday against British historian David Irving [BBC profile], who was arrested last week [JURIST report] for violating an Austrian law making it illegal to deny the Holocaust. Prosecutor Otto Schneider said, "A charge was filed in relation to two speeches in 1989 in which he [read more]

10:11 EDT

[JURIST] Chile's high court voted 5-0 Monday to uphold a lower court decision [JURIST report] detaining former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori [personal website; JURIST news archive] as he fights extradition to Peru. He will remain in custody until Peru requests his extradition. A first attempt by a Peruvian prosecutor to [read more]

10:11 EDT

[JURIST] AP is reporting that "dirty bomb" suspect Jose Padilla [JURIST news archive] has been indicted on criminal charges. Padilla has been in US custody for over three years on allegations that he was involved in an al Qaeda plot to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in the US and [read more]

09:11 EDT

[JURIST] Former Ecuador President Lucio Gutierrez [BBC profile] filed a criminal complaint with the country's attorney general Monday seeking sedition and conspiracy charges against his successor, former Vice President Alfredo Palacio [official profile, in Spanish; Wikipedia profile], for allegedly overthrowing the government. Gutierrez was arrested in October [JURIST report] when [read more]

09:11 EDT

[JURIST] A federal lawsuit was filed against McLennan County, Texas [government website] Monday by three war protestors claiming that new county ordinances prohibiting roadside parking and camping interferes with their ability to gather outside President Bush's Crawford ranch. Plaintiffs Richard Underhill, Benjamin Hart Viges, and Sherry Glover, who are represented [read more]

09:11 EDT

[JURIST] French Ambassador to the US Jean-David Levitte [official profile] said Monday that France was "back to normal" following three weeks of rioting [JURIST report] and he denied that religion played a role in the violence, which was prevalent in largely Muslim communities. Levitte said the issue was equality and [read more]

08:11 EDT

[JURIST] A government panel agreed Monday that Japan's succession law should be changed to allow the first-born child, irrespective of gender, the right to ascend to the throne, which would for the first time allow female members of the royal family [official website] to become monarchs. The advisory panel has [read more]

08:11 EDT

[JURIST] French Judge Brigitte Raynaud is in Rwanda investigating accusations that Paris helped a former Hutu [Wikipedia backgrounder] government massacre of Tutsis [Wikipedia backgrounder] during the 1994 genocide [Human Rights watch backgrounder; BBC backgrounder], French Ambassador Dominique Decherf said Tuesday. Last year, Rwanda's Tutsi President Paul Kagame [BBC profile] first [read more]

08:11 EDT

[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's international brief, Kenya's anti-draft constitution Orange Movement has gained an insurmountable lead according to the Electoral Commission of Kenya [backgrounder] following Monday's national referendum [JURIST report] on the proposed draft Constitution [official text]. The Electoral Commission released official results that put the Orange Movement up by more [read more]

08:11 EDT

[JURIST] German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis, head of a UN investigation [UN materials] into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive] returned to Lebanon Tuesday as he prepares to close the investigation and prepare a final report due to UN Security Council by December 15. Hariri [read more]

07:11 EDT

[JURIST] EU states have said they plan to write a joint letter to the US government seeking clarification about whether the US has been running illegal covert prisons [JURIST report] in the EU as part of its war on terror. The UK, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the [read more]

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