International brief ~ Spanish judge indicts 32 for attempted National Court bombing
D. Wes Rist at 9:06 AM ET
[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's international brief, a Spanish judge has issued an indictment against 32 Islamic militants for an alleged attempt to set off explosives at Spain's National Court (Audiencia Nacional governing statute), the heart of its judicial anti-terror activities. Most of the 32 men charged - including alleged mastermind Mohamed Achraf [AP report] - have already been arrested, while others are reportedly being heavily investigated by police officials. The indicting judge handed down charges of membership of a terrorist organization, conspiracy to commit a terrorist act and forgery of documents and said that the bombing could have caused an estimated 900 deaths. No dates have been released for the start of criminal proceedings. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Spain [JURIST news archive]. BBC News has more. From Madrid, El Pais has local coverage [in Spanish].
In other international legal news ...
- Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [BBC profile] has pledged a renewed commitment to peace in the Darfur region [JURIST news archive] of Sudan [government website] and reiterated Khartoum's rejection of any UN peacekeeping force in the area. Al-Bashir praised the current African Union [official website] peacekeeping force as a model for the growth of African regionalism and warned that 'outside interference' from the United Nations [official website] would only lead to a situation similar to that currently occurring in Iraq and Afghanistan. The AU has tentatively agreed to hand over control [JURIST report] of the peacekeeping mission in Darfur by this September. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Sudan [JURIST news archive]. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.
- The Nepalese National Human Rights Commission [official website] (NHRC) sent a petition to King Gyanendra [BBC profile] on Tuesday requesting the immediate release of at least five high-profile human rights campaigners currently being detained by the Nepalese government. Some of the men being held have been charged under heightened restrictions on the right to protest the government, while others are being detained with no charges filed. The NHRC urged the release of all of the men, arguing that even those charged with crimes enjoy special protection from prosecution for human rights protests under the Universal Declaration for Human Rights [official text]. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Nepal [JURIST news archive]. eKantipur.com has local coverage.
- The Supreme Prosecutor's Office [official website in Korean] in South Korea [government website] has announced several changes to criminal trial procedure in the country that will take effect over the next several months. Included in these changes is a complete reworking of the interrogation style of prosecutors currently permitted in court. Instead of allowing leading questions, courts will now require prosecutors to break questions up in order to allow for witnesses to dispute individual facts, rather than an overly-long question. Additionally, the Prosecutor's office announced its intent to move away from document-based trials and closer to a 'public hearing' style of trial in which judges will form their finding of guilt or innocence based on trial witnesses and evidence, rather than pre-trial written submissions. One of the final major changes will be the expansion of a trial program which requires prosecutors to submit written arraignments when indicting individuals for trial. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of South Korea [JURIST news archive]. Chosun Ilbo has local coverage.
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