Legal news from Wednesday, June 7, 2006
14:06 EDT

[JURIST] The disciplinary committee of Spain's General Judicial Council said Wednesday that it will investigate why Spanish judge Juan Del Olmo [Europa Press profile, in Spanish] failed to apply for an extension of the detainment of a suspect in the March 11, 2004 Madrid train bombings [JURIST news archive]. As [read more]

13:06 EDT

[JURIST] Washington's gay civil rights act [HB 2661 text, PDF] took effect on Wednesday, after opponents of the legislation failed to collect enough signatures to put the bill before voters. The law rewrites Washington's Civil Rights Act to include the phrase "sexual orientation" among the classes of people protected from [read more]

13:06 EDT

[JURIST] The US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] on Wednesday revived debate on the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act (FAIR) [PDF text; bill summary; JURIST news archive] at a Judiciary Committee hearing [meeting materials] to discuss changes to the bill. The asbestos compensation bill outlines a plan that would [read more]

12:06 EDT

[JURIST] The Chinese government has postponed the trial against former New York Times researcher Zhao Yan [HRIC profile, PDF], which was scheduled to begin Thursday, Zhao's lawyer said Wednesday. Zhao was indicted for "providing state secrets to foreigners" following a 2004 New York Times report [text] that revealed the resignation [read more]

11:06 EDT

[JURIST] A Dutch court convicted arms dealer Guus Kouwenhoven [Trial Watch backgrounder] of violating the UN embargo against former Liberian President Charles Taylor's government, but found him not guilty of war crimes, saying he did not have direct knowledge of the atrocities committed during the Liberian civil war. Kouwenhoven was [read more]

11:06 EDT

[JURIST] Fourteen European countries collaborated with the US Central Intelligence Agency by taking an active or passive role in a "global spider's web" of secret prisons and rendition flights, Swiss legislator Dick Marty said Wednesday in a report [PDF text] from the Legal Affairs Committee of the Council of Europe [read more]

11:06 EDT

[JURIST] French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy [BBC profile] said Monday that he supports changing a proposed immigration bill [text; legislative materials] now under debate [session transcript] in the French Senate to allow some children of illegal immigrants currently attending French schools to remain in the country. According to administration officials, [read more]

10:06 EDT

[JURIST] American jurists control the court trying Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] by directing the judge and controlling meetings between the defense team and Hussein, one of Hussein's lawyers said Tuesday. In a Beirut news conference, Bushra al-Khalil, the controversial defense lawyer who has been thrown out of court twice [read more]

10:06 EDT

[JURIST] The US Senate Wednesday morning voted 49-48 [MFTF log] against holding an up-or-down vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment [PDF text; SJ Res 1 summary], rejecting a motion to invoke cloture [Senate backgrounder]. Though the Senate voted to continue debate on the resolution, the issue is not expected to [read more]

10:06 EDT

[JURIST] Over 250 Afghans were arrested, 141 are still in custody, and 52 have confessed to crimes committed during anti-American riots in Kabul [BBC report] last week in response to an incident where a US military vehicle collided with 12 civilian vehicles in northern Kabul, the Afghani national security director [read more]

10:06 EDT

[JURIST] Iraqi officials on Wednesday released nearly 600 detainees who had been in Iraqi and US custody – the first of 2,500 detainees slated to be released under the order [JURIST report] of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki [BBC profile]. In the interest of national reconciliation, Maliki said Tuesday that [read more]

10:06 EDT

[JURIST] A French trial court has ordered the French government and the state-controlled railway SNCF [corporate website] to pay 60,000 euros, or about $80,000 US, in compensation to a Jewish family for complicity in crimes against humanity. The case [Haaretz report] was brought by European Parliament member Alain Lipietz [official [read more]

10:06 EDT

[JURIST] Australian Prime Minister John Howard [official profile] and his Cabinet have announced [AG press release] that the federal government will set aside legislation allowing same-sex civil unions in the Australian Capital Territory [official website], the federal district that includes Canberra. Speaking Tuesday at a press conference [transcript], the prime [read more]

09:06 EDT

[JURIST] Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), chairman of the US Senate Judiciary Committee, has said that he has abandoned his plan to subpoena executives of three top phone companies after Vice President Dick Cheney said Tuesday that national security concerns would prevent executives from speaking about allegedly providing phone records to [read more]

09:06 EDT

[JURIST] UK Attorney General Lord Peter Goldsmith [official profile] will call for prosecutors to study whether the British court-martial system is adequate for prosecuting soldiers accused of misconduct in Iraq [JURIST news archive], the Times of London reported Wednesday. The development follows Tuesday's acquittal of three infantrymen [JURIST report] accused [read more]

08:06 EDT

[JURIST] The US Department of Defense [official website] has issued comprehensive guidelines for the treatment of detainees that direct doctors to force-feed detainees who endanger their own lives as a result of a hunger strike. The guidelines [PDF text], aimed primarily at the recent wave of hunger strikes [JURIST report] [read more]

08:06 EDT

[JURIST] A Vatican panel Tuesday condemned same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] as a major threat to the family, along with abortion [JURIST news archive], contraception and in vitro fertilization. The Pontifical Council for the Family [official website; official backgrounder], founded by Pope John Paul II in 1981, issued a 57-page [read more]

08:06 EDT

[JURIST] US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] called the May FBI raid of the congressional office [JURIST report] of Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) [official website] an "unusual" but necessary step on Tuesday, comparing the office search to past searches of the homes and vehicles of other members of Congress. [read more]

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