Legal news from Thursday, July 13, 2006
19:07 EDT

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives [official website] voted Thursday to renew the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA) [text; DOJ backgrounder] for 25 years. The renewal bill [HR 9 summary; text, PDF] now goes to the Senate for approval after a final vote of 390-33 [roll call], with only Republicans [read more]

19:07 EDT

[JURIST] Former South Korean lobbyist Tongsun Park [personal website; Washington Post profile], was convicted Thursday on charges [JURIST report] of money laundering, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and acting as an unregistered agent of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. A federal jury in New York spent less than a day [read more]

18:07 EDT

[JURIST] Jose Padilla [JURIST news archive] and his attorneys may view classified information from the US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] in preparation for his terrorism trial, US District Judge Marcia G. Cooke [official profile] has ruled. Although defense lawyers are routinely granted access to confidential information after obtaining [read more]

18:07 EDT

[JURIST] Valerie Plame, the undercover operative whose revealed identity precipitated the CIA leak scandal [JURIST news archive], filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in federal court Thursday against Vice President Dick Cheney, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove [official profile] and former vice-presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [defense [read more]

15:07 EDT

[JURIST] Amnesty International issued a scathing statement on Thursday condemning Israel and Lebanese political group Hezbollah [Wikipedia backgrounder] for causing civilian deaths and taking hostages in violation of Geneva Convention protections. Israeli air strikes killed 40 civilians and injured 60 in southern Lebanon on Wednesday after Hezbullah crossed the Israeli [read more]

14:07 EDT

[JURIST] President Bush has agreed to sign legislation authorizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) [FJC backgrounder] to review the NSA's controversial domestic spying program [JURIST news archive], US Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) told the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday. Specter has been negotiating a bill with the White House since [read more]

13:07 EDT

[JURIST] A Chinese court has sentenced writer Li Yuanlong, a reporter for the Bijie Daily newspaper who wrote essays on websites banned by the Chinese government, to two years in prison for "inciting subversion of state authority," his lawyer said Thursday. Li pleaded not guilty during his May trial [CPJ [read more]

13:07 EDT

[JURIST] US Marshals took custody of three former NatWest [corporate website] bankers Thursday as the controversial extradition of the three British nationals went ahead as scheduled. Giles Darby, David Bermingham and Gary Mulgrew will face seven counts of wire fraud for allegedly reaping around 1.5 million pounds each from a [read more]

13:07 EDT

[JURIST] US President George Bush has said he will tell Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website, English version; BBC profile] that non-governmental organizations should be able to function "without intimidation" and that Russia needs to have an "active civil society" in private meetings between the two presidents during this week's [read more]

12:07 EDT

[JURIST] US Sen. John Warner (R-VA) said Thursday that the White House should propose detainee trials legislation soon after the return of senior officials from the G-8 summit [White House materials] hosted by Russia this month. In comments during a US Senate Armed Forces Committee hearing [witness list], Warner also [read more]

11:07 EDT

[JURIST] Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [official website; BBC profile] warned Thursday that Iran may stop allowing UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) [official website] inspections of its nuclear facilities and pull out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) [PDF text] if international pressure to stop its nuclear program continues. Ahmadinejad's [read more]

11:07 EDT

[JURIST] Belarus prosecutors have requested a six-to-10-year sentence for opposition politician Alexander Kozulin [CFR profile and interview], who in March led what prosecutors say were unauthorized protests [JURIST report] over the controversial re-election [JURIST report] of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko [official website; BBC profile]. Prosecutors in the case said Wednesday [read more]

11:07 EDT

[JURIST] The European Union [official website] may resume talks with Serbia over the country's possible accession [EU materials] into the EU this fall, even if indicted war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic [ICTY case backgrounder; JURIST news archive] has not been arrested and handed over to the International Tribunal for the [read more]

10:07 EDT

[JURIST] The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe [tribe website] filed a complaint [PDF text; press release, PDF] in a Texas federal district court on Wednesday alleging that former lobbyist Jack Abramoff [JURIST news archive], his associate Michael Scanlon [Wikipedia backgrounder] and former Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed [campaign website] defrauded the tribe [read more]

10:07 EDT

[JURIST] The International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] on Thursday denied a request by Argentina [court materials] that Uruguay be barred from continuing construction of two paper mills along the river that separates the two nations [ASIL case backgrounder]. The court, voting 14-1, ruled [order, PDF; press release] that [read more]

10:07 EDT

[JURIST] A Connecticut Superior Court [official website] judge ruled [PDF text] Wednesday that civil unions do not harm same-sex couples, saying that they "share the same benefits, protections and responsibilities" as married couples. Judge Patty Jenkins Pittman further wrote that because civil unions enjoy the same benefits and protections as [read more]

10:07 EDT

[JURIST] The European Court of First Instance [official website], the European Union's second-highest court, on Thursday rejected a proposed merger between Sony and Bertelsmann AG (BMG) [corporate websites] that earned unconditional approval [EC report] in July 2004 from European Commission (EC) [official website] regulators. The decision marks the first time [read more]

10:07 EDT

[JURIST] The Thailand Constitutional Court [official website] agreed Thursday to hear arguments in a case against five political parties, including the ruling Thai Rak Thai [party website] party, the main opposition Democrats [party website], and three smaller parties, for allegedly "acting against democratic rule" during April's annulled parliamentary elections [JURIST [read more]

09:07 EDT

[JURIST] France's far-right National Front [party website] leader Jean-Marie Le Pen [BBC profile], who surprised observers with his strong performance in the 2002 French presidential election [BBC backgrounder], will be put on trial in Paris for allegedly denying how brutal the Nazi occupation of France was during World War II, [read more]

09:07 EDT

[JURIST] House Majority Leader Jim Boehner (R-OH) on Wednesday scheduled seven more House hearings [press release] through the end of July on comprehensive immigration reform [JURIST news archive; House Judiciary materials], and characterized the first round of hearings [JURIST report] as a success for House Republicans who support strict enforcement-focused [read more]

09:07 EDT

[JURIST] Lord Michael Levy [BBC profile; Wikipedia profile], chief fundraiser for British Prime Minister Tony Blair [official website], returned to a police station for questioning Thursday after he was arrested by Scotland Yard [Times report] Wednesday in connection with a growing "cash for honors" scandal [BBC Q&A]. The police official [read more]

09:07 EDT

[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan [official profile] said Thursday that the US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] decision to apply the Geneva Conventions to detainees in US military custody [JURIST report] "strengthens the international rule of law, and is true to the U.S.'s strong tradition of respect for civil [read more]

08:07 EDT

[JURIST] Massachusetts lawmakers on Wednesday decided to postpone a vote on a proposed state constitutional amendment [DOC text] to ban same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] until after the November election, just days after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court [official website] ruled that the same-sex marriage ban can be placed on [read more]

08:07 EDT

[JURIST] Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website, English version; BBC profile] on Wednesday signed a law that shortens the conscription term and wipes out five accepted reasons for military draft deferments. The law, passed [JURIST report] by both houses of parliament in June, reduces required military service from two years [read more]

08:07 EDT

[JURIST] Indian authorities have detained approximately 350 people for questioning in connection with Tuesday's Mumbai train bombings [BBC report], which killed over 200 people and wounded 700. Police Inspector S. Goshal said Thursday that none of the detainees have been formally arrested or charged, but that authorities brought the detainees [read more]

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