Legal news from Thursday, March 2, 2006
19:03 EDT

[JURIST] Ali Hamza Ahmad Sulayman al Bahlul [Wikipedia profile], a Guantanamo detainee from Yemen charged [charge sheet, PDF] with conspiring to commit murder, to attack civilians and civilian objects, and terrorism, boycotted [JURIST report] his military commission hearing again Thursday, this time on the grounds that the attorney appointed to [read more]

18:03 EDT

[JURIST] The Georgia Senate [official website] passed a bill Thursday that would allow Georgians to use deadly force when they feel threatened in public areas. Bill 396 [text PDF; sponsor's press release, PDF] extends Georgia's current law by extending the right to use deadly force beyond private property, saying that [read more]

15:03 EDT

[JURIST] The US Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee [official website] voted 12-1 Thursday to send a lobbying oversight bill to the full Senate, but the bill was stripped of a provision establishing an independent office with oversight over congressional ethics issues. The Lobbying Transparency and Accountability Act of [read more]

15:03 EDT

[JURIST] The US Senate [official website] has approved a long-term renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act [PDF text; JURIST news archive] by a vote of 89-10 [roll call vote]. The vote was expected [JURIST report] after the Senate approved amendments to the USA PATRIOT and Terrorism Prevention Reauthorization Act of [read more]

15:03 EDT

[JURIST] Members of the US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] Thursday began hammering out an immigration reform bill in the face of several competing proposals that have bitterly divided lawmakers. Committee Chairman Senator Arlen Specter's Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 [draft text PDF] has come in for sharp criticism [read more]

14:03 EDT

[JURIST] Libya freed 130 political prisoners [AI press release] on Thursday, among them 85 members of the Islamist opposition group Muslim Brotherhood [Wikipedia backgounder], some of whom have been held since 1998. In 2002, the now-abolished People's Court sentenced the Brotherhood members for treason for participating in unauthorized political activity, [read more]

14:03 EDT

[JURIST] The Mississippi House Public Health Committee has approved a bill that would prohibit most abortions in the state, and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) [official website] has said that he plans to sign the legislation if both houses of the Mississippi Legislature [official website] approve it. The bill, which [read more]

13:03 EDT

[JURIST] An Italian parliamentary commission has concluded that the Soviet Union backed the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II [official website] by Mehmet Ali Agca [Wikipedia profile], in a report released on Thursday. The commission argues that the Soviets conspired to kill the pope because of his support [read more]

13:03 EDT

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Canada [official website] on Thursday unanimously overturned [decision text] a Quebec school board's ban on carrying Sikh ceremonial daggers at school, ruling that it infringed students' religious freedom under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [text]. Gurbaj Singh, 17, challenged the ban [CHRC factum] [read more]

12:03 EDT

[JURIST] A British judge on Thursday approved the takeover of a British shipping and ports company by the United Arab Emirates [government website] company Dubai Ports World [corporate website], a move which could lead to the Arab company taking control of operations of six major US ports. A US company, [read more]

12:03 EDT

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice [official website] Thursday sued [DOJ press release] the state of New York for violating the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) [text] by not developing voting systems that enable disabled voters easier access to cast their ballots and by not implementing a statewide computerized [read more]

11:03 EDT

[JURIST] A Ugandan military court-martial has reinstated firearms and terrorism charges [JURIST report] against defeated presidential candidate Kizza Besigye [BBC profile, JURIST news archive] after the military trial was postponed during elections [JURIST report]. Besigye's lawyers said Thursday that they will ignore the reinstated charges and that Besigye will not [read more]

11:03 EDT

[JURIST] A US Department of Defense [official website] official Wednesday defended the government's decision [JURIST report] in October to refuse access by UN investigators to detainees being held at the US prison base in Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], and reiterated that the operation of the facility is critical to [read more]

09:03 EDT

[JURIST] The US Senate [official website] has voted to accept changes to legislation that would renew the USA PATRIOT Act [PDF text; JURIST news archive], setting the stage for a final vote Thursday to authorize the renewal legislation. In one of several votes Wednesday, the Senate voted 95-4 [roll call [read more]

05:03 EDT

[JURIST Europe] The 25-member European Union (EU) [official website] has issued a statement of support for a draft resolution [PDF text; JURIST report] proposing a new UN Human Rights Council to replace the generally-discredited Human Rights Commission [official website], which has been severely criticized for not preventing rights violators from [read more]

05:03 EDT

[JURIST Europe] The 25-member European Union (EU) [official website] has issued a statement of support for a draft resolution [PDF text; JURIST report] proposing a new UN Human Rights Council to replace the generally-discredited Human Rights Commission [official website], which has been severely criticized for not preventing rights violators from [read more]

05:03 EDT

[JURIST Europe] The 25-member European Union (EU) [official website] has issued a statement of support for a draft resolution [PDF text; JURIST report] proposing a new UN Human Rights Council to replace the generally-discredited Human Rights Commission [official website], which has been severely criticized for not preventing rights violators from [read more]

05:03 EDT

[JURIST] The US State Department [official website] has asked Congress for $100 million for building prisons in Iraq, its only remaining large-scale reconstruction project in the country. State Department Iraq Coordinator James Jeffrey [official profile; budget briefing transcript] describes the exercise as creating “additional bed capacity of the Iraqi legal [read more]

04:03 EDT

[JURIST Europe] UK Prime Minister Tony Blair [official profile] told the British House of Commons Wednesday that he hopes the US will close its much-criticized detention camp at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], but measured his words by adding that the US had justifiably opened it in response to the [read more]

04:03 EDT

[JURIST] The former head of the Human Rights Office [official website] at the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq [official website] has told the BBC that extra-judicial killings and torture have become "endemic" in Iraq, and that up to 75% of bodies in the Baghdad morgue show signs of torture or [read more]

04:03 EDT

[JURIST] China's new Law on Public Security Administrative Penalties [text in Chinese; press release] took effect Wednesday, creating 165 new offenses and setting maximum penalties ranging from 200 yuan ($25 US) to 15 days detention for Chinese citizens all the way to deportation for foreigners. The new offenses include repeatedly [read more]

04:03 EDT

[JURIST] For the first time since the Guantanamo Bay war crimes tribunals convened in August 2004, a presiding military judge has said that he will examine potential evidence to determine if it was obtained through torture before ruling on admissibility. Presiding judge Col. Peter Brownback discussed the issue at a [read more]

02:03 EDT

[JURIST] The six men convicted in October 2004 of committing sexual abuse [JURIST report] against women and underage girls on the British possession of Pitcairn Island [government website] over a period of 30 years have lost their latest appeals. Appearing before a specially-constituted Pitcairn Court of Appeal [Wikipedia backgrounder] in [read more]

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