Legal news from Thursday, June 1, 2006
20:06 EDT

[JURIST] A study by the independent Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission [advocacy website], headed by former UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix [UN profile; BBC profile], has called for a total ban on the possession and use of nuclear weapons [press release, PDF]. At a UN press conference, Blix said [read more]

19:06 EDT

[JURIST] After re-examining the costs of cleaning up remaining oil from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill [BBC report], the US Justice Department and the state of Alaska said Thursday that they would use a "reopener" provision [DOJ fact sheet] in an earlier agreement with ExxonMobil [corporate website] and seek $92 [read more]

19:06 EDT

[JURIST] California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger [official website] has agreed to support President Bush's deployment of National Guard troops along the Mexican border [JURIST report] by sending 1,000 Guard members from California to join the effort. As part of the agreement, the federal government will reportedly cover the cost of sending [read more]

16:06 EDT

[JURIST] AP is reporting that a military jury has found US Army Sgt. Santos A. Cardona guilty of abusing detainees at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST news archive]. Cardona was charged with maltreatment of prisoners, dereliction of duty and assault in connection with the use of unmuzzled dogs [JURIST report] [read more]

15:06 EDT

[JURIST] A spokesperson for German spy agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) [official website in German] on Thursday said that a low-ranking agent knew in January 2004 that German citizen Khalid el-Masri [JURIST news archive] had been arrested in Macedonia and turned over to American authorities, but failed to report the story to [read more]

14:06 EDT

[JURIST] Defense lawyers in the Saddam Hussein trial [JURIST news archive] on Thursday accused US and Iraqi officials of illegally detaining four witnesses who testified Wednesday that chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Musawi had tried to bribe them to testify against Hussein [JURIST report], and that Musawi was present for a 2004 [read more]

14:06 EDT

[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] on Thursday issued an order lifting the confidentiality of its health records for Slobodan Milosevic [JURIST news archive], the former Yugoslav leader accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity who died suddenly [JURIST report] in the ICTY [read more]

13:06 EDT

[JURIST] The Swedish Riksdag [official website] has approved a law that could allow the country to incarcerate former Liberian President Charles Taylor [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] if he is convicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [JURIST news archive], government officials said Thursday. The parliament gave unanimous [read more]

13:06 EDT

[JURIST] The Swedish Riksdag [official website] has approved a law that could allow the country to incarcerate former Liberian President Charles Taylor [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] if he is convicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [JURIST news archive], government officials said Thursday. The parliament gave unanimous [read more]

13:06 EDT

[JURIST] An additional 14 Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees have gone on hunger strike, Navy Cmdr. Robert Durand said Thursday, bringing the total number of detainees on hunger strike to 89 after it was announced Monday that the number of detainees on hunger strike ballooned from three to 75 [read more]

13:06 EDT

[JURIST] A federal judge on Thursday ordered [opinion text, PDF] Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum [official profile] to comply with discovery requests related to a lawsuit filed by legal watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) [advocacy website] against the Department of Justice seeking to reveal why the [read more]

12:06 EDT

[JURIST] Former Russian nuclear minister Yevgeny Adamov [Kommersant profile; JURIST news archive] suffered from a heart attack Thursday while in custody [JURIST report] on fraud and abuse of office charges. Adamov's lawyers told Interfax news that although Adamov has received treatment, his health is deteriorating and he needs immediate medical [read more]

12:06 EDT

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Spain [official website] on Thursday overturned the Sept. 11 conspiracy conviction [JURIST report] of Syrian-born Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas [BBC profile], but upheld his conviction as the leader of an al Qaeda cell in Spain. Yarkas has repeatedly denied [JURIST report] alleged connections with Sept. [read more]

11:06 EDT

[JURIST] Kenya's National Assembly has unanimously approved a sex-crimes law after a month of heated debate over several controversial provisions, most of which were dropped in order to pass the bill [AllAfrica.com report]. Legislators dropped provisions criminalizing marital rape and female genital mutilation, as well as a provision shifting the [read more]

11:06 EDT

[JURIST] US President Bush on Thursday urged Congress to negotiate a comprehensive immigration reform bill [JURIST news archive] that recognizes that "America can be a lawful society and America can be a welcoming society at the same time." In a speech at the US Chamber of Commerce [group website], Bush [read more]

10:06 EDT

[JURIST] Montgomery County Circuit Judge James Ryan has sentenced convicted Washington, DC-area sniper John Allen Muhammad [BBC profile] to six consecutive life terms in prison without the possibility of parole. Muhammad was convicted [JURIST report] by a Maryland jury of six counts of murder earlier this week. Last year, Muhammad [read more]

10:06 EDT

[JURIST] Mark Corallo [corporate profile], a former spokesperson for ex-Attorney General John Ashcroft, filed an affidavit in federal court in San Francisco on Wednesday criticizing subpoenas issued by current Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] to compel two San Francisco Chronicle reporters to reveal the source of leaked grand jury [read more]

10:06 EDT

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Thursday condemned [press release] the conviction and imprisonment [Reuters report] on last week of 13 Chinese villagers who participated in a riot in Dongzhou [BBC report] last December. The 13 villagers were jailed for up to seven years for disturbing social order, [read more]

10:06 EDT

[JURIST] The Federal Election Commission [official website] said Wednesday that it will not appeal [press release] a ruling [PDF text; JURIST report] ordering it to either present a "reasoned explanation" for its case-by-case treatment of campaign contribution issues involving tax-exempt 527 groups [Opensecrets.org backgrounder], or to institute new rules "if [read more]

10:06 EDT

[JURIST] Umer Hayat, who was accused of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation [official website] about his son's terrorism-related activities, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a lesser charge of trying to smuggle $28,000 in cash into Pakistan three years ago. Umer, who will not serve any more prison time after [read more]

09:06 EDT

[JURIST] The Jordanian government said Wednesday that it intends to introduce a bill in parliament that will eliminate prison sentences for journalism-related crimes, just one day after a court sentenced [JURIST report] two newspaper editors to two months in jail for "attacking religious sentiment" by reprinting cartoons of the Prophet [read more]

09:06 EDT

[JURIST] The Iraqi High Tribunal (IHT) - formerly known as the Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website] - has issued two arrest warrants [press release] for former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz [BBC profile] for crimes against humanity, according to Aziz's Italy-based lawyers. Aziz is already in custody, but Giovanni [read more]

09:06 EDT

[JURIST] The probe charged with finding out why top US military officials did not know about the alleged killings of 24 Iraqis by US Marines [JURIST news archive] in Haditha in November 2005 until February 2006 has uncovered two major failures in how the incident was handled, the Washington Post [read more]

09:06 EDT

[JURIST] The United States has again suspended $7 million government-to-government aid to Serbia for failing to turn over Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. This is the fourth year in a row that the US suspended some aid to Serbia's government [JURIST report] for [read more]

08:06 EDT

[JURIST] The New York Court of Appeals [official website], the state's highest court, heard oral arguments [recorded video] Wednesday on whether the court should overturn the state's 97-year old statute defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. On appeal from four consolidated cases - Hernandez v. [read more]

07:06 EDT

[JURIST] The Orleans Parish Criminal District Court [official website] building in New Orleans officially reopens Thursday morning, and the first criminal trials since Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive] struck at the end of August are scheduled to start on Monday. According to Chief Judge Calvin Johnson, the court will be [read more]

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