Legal news from Tuesday, February 14, 2006
19:02 EDT

[JURIST] US senators late Tuesday failed to overcome an objection effectively killing a bill designed to avoid costly asbestos litigation by creating a special fund to compensate asbestos victims [JURIST news archive]. The objection, raised by Senator John Ensign (R-NV) [official website] and supported by fiscal conservatives [FreedomWorks press release], [read more]

19:02 EDT

[JURIST] US Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) [official profile], chairman of the national security subcommittee [official website] of the House Government Reform Committee, said Tuesday that changes in whistleblower laws are needed to provide better protection for whistleblowers in the national security area. The remarks made during a subcommittee hearing [press [read more]

19:02 EDT

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch has accused Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni [BBC profile] of "playing dirty tricks" to intimidate voters in the upcoming elections on Feb. 23. Principal opposition leader Kizza Besigye [JURIST news archive] is facing criminal charges in civil and military courts for treason, rape and terrorism. In a [read more]

17:02 EDT

[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's environmental law news, the US Fish and Wildlife Service [official website] has reopened the public comment period [press release] on its original 1999 proposal to remove the bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) [FWS species backgrounder] from the federal list of threatened and endangered species [backgrounder]. The bald eagle [read more]

16:02 EDT

[JURIST] The Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy [official backgrounder] on Tuesday ordered the state's 44 Wal-Marts and 4 Sam's Club stores to carry emergency contraception pills at their pharmacies. Previously Wal-Mart [corporate website] only carried the "morning after" pill in Illinois, a requirement of state law. Wal-Mart was sued earlier this [read more]

16:02 EDT

[JURIST] South Dakota governor Mike Rounds [official website] has signed into law [press release] a bill limiting protests during funerals. SB 156 [PDF text] was passed in response to recent picketing at the funerals of US soldiers who died in Iraq, and will ban protests within 1,000 feet of a [read more]

15:02 EDT

[JURIST] Former Nepal prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba [Wikipedia profile] was released from prison Tuesday in the wake of Monday's ruling by the Nepal Supreme Court [official website] declaring the Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC) set up by Nepal's King Gyanendra unconstitutional [JURIST report]. The former Prime Minister was [read more]

14:02 EDT

[JURIST] A UK parliamentary report [PDF] released Tuesday concludes that British control orders [BBC backgrounder] confining and/or regulating the conduct of suspected terrorists who cannot be prosecuted in courts may violate the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) [text]. Eighteen control orders have so far been issued by UK Home [read more]

14:02 EDT

[JURIST] US Vice President Dick Cheney [official biography] has received a citation for breaking a Texas hunting law by not having the proper stamp giving him permission to shoot quail. The warning was issued by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department [official website] after hearing news that the Vice President [read more]

13:02 EDT

[JURIST] The Islamic Supreme Council of Canada (ISCC) [advocacy website] has filed a complaint against the Canadian Western Standard [media website] magazine over its republication of Danish cartoons [JURIST news archive] depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Other Canadian media have refused to publish the cartoons, but Western Standard publisher Ezra Levant [read more]

13:02 EDT

[JURIST] Yemen [government website] officials have denied an American request to interrogate detainees taken into custody after the escape of 23 prisoners [JURIST report], including suspected al Qaeda members, from a Yemen prison earlier this month. A Yemen security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said authorities rejected the US [read more]

13:02 EDT

[JURIST] Haitian presidential candidate Rene Preval [Wikipedia profile], currently leading [JURIST report] in the official count from the February 7 election [JURIST report; BBC backgrounder] with 48.76 percent of the votes [CEP PDF], said Tuesday that the poll was plagued by "gross errors and probably gigantic fraud." Preval, a former [read more]

12:02 EDT

[JURIST] US District Judge Leonie Brinkema ruled Tuesday that Zacarias Moussaoui [JURIST news archive] will no longer be allowed to be present in the courtroom for jury selection in his sentencing trial [case docket] after Moussaoui walked out of a pretrial hearing. Moussaoui pleaded guilty [JURIST report] last April to [read more]

11:02 EDT

[JURIST] Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen [BBC profile] has called for abolition of the country's criminal defamation law that was used to jail four government critics in January. Hun Sen said the offense should be made a civil one punishable by fine, continuing a softening of his initial support for [read more]

11:02 EDT

[JURIST] Kenyan police have placed a travel ban on more than 20 officials as investigations continue into government corruption. Police told some 20 officials allegedly linked to the Goldenberg affair [BBC report], a multi-million gold and diamond scam, not to leave the country. Among those under the ban is former [read more]

11:02 EDT

[JURIST] Lawyers for former HealthSouth [corporate website] CEO Richard Scrushy [JURIST news archive] and former state highway director Mack Roberts filed motions Tuesday asking a federal judge to drop charges against them in connection with a racketeering scheme [JURIST report] involving former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman [official profile]. Scrushy faces [read more]

10:02 EDT

[JURIST] Omri Sharon, son of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon [BBC profile], was sentenced Tuesday to a nine month prison term for illegal campaign fundraising. Sharon was indicted [JURIST report] in August for setting up false companies as a disguise for more than $1.3 million he received in contributions from [read more]

10:02 EDT

[JURIST] The Egyptian opposition Muslim Brotherhood [FAS backgrounder] has promised to fight legislation backed by President Hosni Mubarak [official profile; BBC profile] that would delay local elections in Egypt [JURIST news archive] for an another two years and preserve the ruling party's dominance. The legislation, which only requires an expected [read more]

10:02 EDT

[JURIST] Sudan police have arrested five Sudanese human rights activists in the Darfur [JURIST news archive] region and beat and arrested several Sudanese students who were rioting on the Juba University campus in Northern Khartoum, according to Amnesty International [advocacy website]. The five activists, members of the Sudan Social Development [read more]

10:02 EDT

[JURIST] Two Iraqis claiming they were beaten by British soldiers following a demonstration that turned violent in 2004 said Tuesday that they would sue the UK military over the incident. According to Bassem Shaker, one of the two, he was among a group of several hundred protesting a lack of [read more]

09:02 EDT

[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's international brief, South Korea has nominated its Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon [official profile] as a candidate for the office of the UN Secretary-General [official website]. The office, currently held by Kofi Annan [official profile] is up for election in the second half of 2006 and its holder [read more]

08:02 EDT

[JURIST] The Constitutional Court of Thailand [official website] on Tuesday agreed to consider a petition to impeach Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [official profile] on suspicion that he illegally held shares in the Shin Corporation [corporate website], a telecommunications giant that he founded. The court secretary-general said that a decision will [read more]

08:02 EDT

[JURIST] Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] on Tuesday told the Iraqi High Criminal Court - formerly the Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website] - that he was on hunger strike [JURIST report] in protest at the way chief judge Ra'uf Rasheed Abdel-Rahman [BBC profile] has been treating Hussein and his co-defendants. [read more]

08:02 EDT

[JURIST] Just one month after New Orleans courts began preparations to resume trials [JURIST report], two New Orleans judges said that criminal courts may have to release as many as 4,000 indigent defendants, many of whom stand accused of felonies, due to lack of funding and resources to hire public [read more]

07:02 EDT

[JURIST] US District Judge Ricardo Urbina [official profile] on Monday issued a preliminary injunction [PDF text; opinion, PDF] preventing the US military from turning over US citizen and suspected terrorist Shawqi Omar [JURIST report] to Iraqi officials. Omar, who the US describes as a close associate of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi [read more]

06:02 EDT

[JURIST Europe] The controversial Identity Cards Bill [official PDF text] narrowly passed its critical second reading in the British House of Commons Monday evening despite efforts by opposition parties and rebellious backbenchers from British Prime Minister Tony Blair's [official profile] own Labour Party to stop it. In two years, anyone [read more]

05:02 EDT

[JURIST Europe] As part of its probe into allegations [JURIST report] that the CIA ran secret prisons [JURIST news archive] in EU member countries, a committee of the European Parliament [official website] Monday outlined an investigation plan and reviewed a list of people it might want to question. Possible witnesses [read more]

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