Legal news from Wednesday, June 21, 2006
19:06 EDT

[JURIST] The war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] could begin as early as January, Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [official website] officials said Wednesday. Taylor, who was transferred [JURIST report] from Sierra Leone to The Hague on Tuesday, will await trial [read more]

19:06 EDT

[JURIST] Former Computer Associates [corporate website] senior vice president Thomas Bennett pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of obstruction of justice for his role in the company’s revenue-swapping of $2.2 billion with another company in 1999 and 2000. Bennett, who faces up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up [read more]

18:06 EDT

[JURIST] A retired Canadian Supreme Court justice said Wednesday that major flaws plaguing the Canadian justice system contributed to the mismanagement of the criminal trial and investigation into the 1985 bombing of an Air India flight [CBC backgrounder] from Montreal that exploded over the Atlantic near Ireland, killing 329 people, [read more]

18:06 EDT

[JURIST] The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official website] on Wednesday approved a review of media ownership rules [FCC news release, PDF; fact sheet, PDF], including limits on ownership of broadcast stations by one company and on cross-ownership by broadcasters and newspapers. FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin [official profile] said [statement, [read more]

16:06 EDT

[JURIST] The US Marine Corps on Wednesday charged seven Marines and one Navy corpsman with murder and kidnapping in connection to the April 26 death of an Iraqi man outside his home in Hamdania. The eight men allegedly dragged an Iraqi civilian outside of his home, shot him, and then [read more]

15:06 EDT

[JURIST] The US House Judiciary Committee [official website] passed a non-binding resolution [HRES 645 text] Wednesday asking the President and the Secretary of Defense to provide the House with information on the NSA domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive]. The resolution calls for: all information in the possession of the [read more]

15:06 EDT

[JURIST] Saddam Hussein and his seven co-defendants have begun a hunger strike to protest the abduction and murder of a defense team lawyer [JURIST report] in Baghdad early Wednesday morning. Leading defense counsel Khalil al-Dulaimi said the defendants would end their strike when additional security is provided to the defense [read more]

14:06 EDT

[JURIST] A Nepal committee has started to consult rebels and civil society leaders in preparation for drafting a temporary constitution after the new Nepal government and Maoist rebels reached a landmark deal [text; JURIST report] Friday. The two parties agreed to draft a power-sharing constitution within 15 days and dissolve [read more]

14:06 EDT

[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on the world's governments Wednesday to ensure the goal of nuclear non-proliferation by devaluing nuclear weapons and strengthening the treaties to limit and control them. Addressing the opening session of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament (CD) [official website] in Geneva, Annan advocated renewed [read more]

14:06 EDT

[JURIST] A guard at a federal detention center in Tallahassee, Florida, shot and killed a US Justice Department agent before being shot and killed himself Wednesday as FBI and Justice Department investigators arrived at the prison to arrest six men, including the guard, who were indicted Tuesday on corruption charges. [read more]

14:06 EDT

[JURIST] The United States and Japan have finalized a treaty that will allow law enforcement authorities from both countries to deal with each other directly to facilitate criminal investigations, rather than going through diplomats. The Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) [draft text, PDF], which the two countries initially signed [US [read more]

13:06 EDT

[JURIST] House GOP leaders on Wednesday indefinitely postponed consideration of the Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006 [HR 9 IH text], which would renew provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 [text] for an additional 25-year period. The unexpected decision to remove the bill from floor [read more]

13:06 EDT

[JURIST] Speaking Wednesday at a news conference [transcript] after a US-EU summit meeting in Vienna [press release; White House backgrounder], President George W. Bush suggested that the White House is open to having Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees tried in US courts, as opposed to Guantanamo-based military commissions where [read more]

12:06 EDT

[JURIST] Iran [JURIST news archive] has charged leading women's rights activists Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani and Parvin Ardalan [Iranian.com profile] with acting "against national security" in connection with a June 12 women's rights demonstration [AP report; Kosof.com photos] that turned violent when police detained more than 70 people in central Tehran. [read more]

11:06 EDT

[JURIST] Law enforcement officials often obtain Americans' phone records without a warrant or subpoena by paying private data brokers, who sometimes get the information through improper or even illegal techniques, AP reports. Federal agencies that hire data brokers include the FBI [official website] and the US Marshals Service [official website], [read more]

11:06 EDT

[JURIST] The Catholic church is pushing the UK government to establish a committee to consider lowering the legal limit on abortions from the current 24 weeks [EFC backgrounder] allowed by the 1967 Abortion Act [BBC Q/A], UK Archbishop Rev. Peter Smith said Wednesday during an interview on the BBC Breakfast [read more]

11:06 EDT

[JURIST] I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [defense profile; JURIST news archive] supporters have raised more than $2 million for his legal defense in the CIA leak case [JURIST news archive] since last fall, according to Barbara Comstock, a member of Libby's defense team. Supporters of Vice President Cheney's former aide have [read more]

11:06 EDT

[JURIST] Canada [JURIST news archive] must do more to protect citizens' personal information from foreign governments, the national privacy commissioner [official website] said in a report [text; press release] to Parliament presented Tuesday. Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart [official profile] singled out the Canadian Border Services Agency [official website] for allowing guards [read more]

10:06 EDT

[JURIST] The federal judge presiding over the Miami trial of terror suspect Jose Padilla [JURIST news archive] has ordered prosecutors to turn over more evidence regarding their allegations that Padilla and his co-defendants conspired to kill, injure or kidnap US nationals overseas as part of a global terrorist network. US [read more]

10:06 EDT

[JURIST] A Syrian writer and his son have been charged with insulting government employees and will be tried before a military tribunal, the Syrian National Organization for Human Rights said Tuesday, as a crackdown on dissent in Syria continues. Journalist Ali Al-Abdallah and his son Mohamed are members of the [read more]

10:06 EDT

[JURIST] A civil rights group has sued the state of Georgia [JURIST news archive], arguing that a new law designed to protect children from sex crimes all but forbids convicted offenders from living in urban and suburban areas. The Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) [advocacy website] filed a complaint [read more]

09:06 EDT

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Tuesday filed a motion in support of Verizon's petition to consolidate over 20 cases in which the company must defend allegations that it illegally shared customer phone records with the National Security Agency in conjunction with the NSA's domestic spying [read more]

09:06 EDT

[JURIST] Cuba and the United States exchanged barbs Tuesday over the US human rights record on the second day [press release] of the inaugural session [opening ceremony statements; JURIST report] of the UN Human Rights Council official website; JURIST news archive] in Geneva, Switzerland. Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Rogue [read more]

09:06 EDT

[JURIST] For the first time in 20 years, a former government official is on trial for crimes committed during the Dirty War [GlobalSecurity.org backgrounder] in Argentina [JURIST news archive]. The trial of Miguel Osvaldo Etchecolatz [Project Disappeared profile], former chief investigator of the Buenos Aires province police, began Tuesday in [read more]

09:06 EDT

[JURIST] In an effort to learn more about the circumstances surrounding the suicide of three Guantanamo Bay detainees [JURIST report], the Center for Constitutional Rights filed an Emergency Motion for Preservation of Evidence [PDF text; press release] in federal court late Monday on behalf of the father of detainee Salah [read more]

08:06 EDT

[JURIST] A group of nurses filed four class-action lawsuits [press release; case materials] around the country Tuesday against multiple hospitals [summary, PDF], alleging the hospitals violated antitrust laws by conspiring to keep wages low for nurses despite a national shortage of nurses. The four lawsuits - filed in Chicago, Illinois [read more]

08:06 EDT

[JURIST] A defense lawyer in the Saddam Hussein trial [JURIST news archive] was abducted and killed Wednesday, just two days after the prosecution presented their closing arguments in the trial, calling for the death penalty [JURIST report] for Hussein and four of his co-defendants. Khamis al-Obeidi, a lawyer for both [read more]

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