Legal news from Tuesday, February 27, 2007
21:02 EDT

[JURIST] The US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] ruled [PDF order] Tuesday that it has no jurisdiction to block the Iraqi death sentence for former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan [Trial Watch profile; JURIST news archive]. Ramadan was convicted [JURIST report; BBC verdict summary] by [read more]

20:02 EDT

[JURIST] Authorities in the volatile Chechnya [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] region of Russia [JURIST news archive] commonly use electrical shocks, forced confessions, and other forms of torture, said Council of Europe [official website] Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg [official profile] Tuesday after visiting a prison in Chechnya's regional [read more]

20:02 EDT

[JURIST] A senate panel in Nigeria [JURIST news archive] Tuesday indicted Vice President Atiku Abubakar [official profile] on corruption charges [JURIST report] stemming from the alleged diversion of $145 million dollars of public money to private interests, as well as allegations of receiving more than $4.6 million dollars in bribes. [read more]

19:02 EDT

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] Tuesday called on US President George W. Bush in a public letter [text, PDF] to account for so-called "ghost prisoners" whose whereabouts and identities have been kept secret since September when Bush acknowledged [JURIST report] the existence of secret prisons operated by the [read more]

19:02 EDT

[JURIST] Canada's House of Commons [official website] Tuesday voted against extending two provisions of the country's Anti-Terrorism Act [text; CBC backgrounder] that are set to expire [JURIST report] March 1. The controversial provisions include a preventive arrest clause that allows police to arrest suspects without warrant for 72 hours and [read more]

17:02 EDT

[JURIST] Charges have been brought against former interim president of Liberia [JURIST news archive] Gyude Bryant [BBC profile] for embezzling $1.3 million during his tenure from October 2003 until January 2006, according to a Liberia government statement Tuesday. The indictment was based on an audit conducted by the Economic Community [read more]

14:02 EDT

[JURIST] US District Judge Robert G. Doumar of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website] Tuesday denied a motion to dismiss filed by the government of Sudan in a lawsuit brought by families of sailors killed in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole [JURIST [read more]

14:02 EDT

[JURIST] US District Court for the District of Columbia Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson [official profile] Tuesday sentenced former US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [official website] commissioner Dr. Lester M. Crawford [official profile; JURIST news archive] to three years supervised probation and imposed about $90,000 in fines. Crawford had [read more]

14:02 EDT

[JURIST] Germany's Federal Constitutional Court [official website] ruled Tuesday that authorities violated the freedom of the press [press release, in German] when they raided the offices of the monthly political magazine Cicero [official website]. In September 2005, investigators searched the offices of Cicero in an attempt to find the source [read more]

14:02 EDT

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF] Tuesday in Winkelman v. Parma City School District [Duke Law case backgrounder; merit briefs], 05-983 [docket], where the court must decide whether parents of an autistic child can represent their child in federal court in [read more]

13:02 EDT

[JURIST] A grand jury in Mississippi Tuesday refused to indict Carolyn Bryant on charges of manslaughter for the 1955 kidnap and murder of Emmett Till [JURIST news archive] due to a lack of sufficient evidence. Carolyn is the wife of Rob Bryant, who, along with his half brother J.W. Milam, [read more]

13:02 EDT

[JURIST] Australian Prime Minister John Howard [official profile] was accused Tuesday of yielding to far-right groups who want a "white Australia" after the Australian Senate [official website] passed the Australian Citizenship Bill of 2006 [text] on Monday. Seen as the biggest revision of immigration laws in nearly 60 years, the [read more]

13:02 EDT

[JURIST] Nigerian officials announced Tuesday the creation of an election tribunal to preside over disputes and complaints arising from the nation's general elections to be held in April 2007 [BBC report]. As Idris Kutigi, chief justice of the Nigerian Supreme Court [official website] swore in judges to serve on the [read more]

11:02 EDT

[JURIST] Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile], chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court [official website] asked a panel of ICC judges Tuesday to issue summonses for two top suspects accused of committing war crimes in the Darfur region of Sudan. The call was the first action taken against individuals in the [read more]

11:02 EDT

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Japan [official website; Japan JURIST news archive] ruled Tuesday that schools can order teachers to play the country's national anthem [fact sheet]. In 1999, a Japanese music teacher refused to play the anthem at a school ceremony. She filed a lawsuit after the school tried [read more]

11:02 EDT

[JURIST] Malawi Vice President Cassim Chilumpha [official profile] pleaded not guilty to treason and conspiring to murder the president as his trial on the charges began Monday. In May 2006, Chilumpha was placed under house arrest [JURIST report] three weeks after police arrested [JURIST report] him in connection with an [read more]

08:02 EDT

[JURIST] The Nepalese government [official website] has created a panel to assemble a list of assets held by King Gyanendra [official profile; BBC profile] and seize property he obtained after ascending to the throne, a cabinet spokesman said Monday. Dilendra Prasad Badu said the three-member panel is tasked with detailing [read more]

07:02 EDT

[JURIST] A California state appeals court ruled [opinion, PDF] Monday that the state's stem cell research [JURIST news archive] program "suffers from no constitutional or other legal infirmity," leading the way for approximately $3 billion in grant money to be awarded to researchers. The Court of Appeal of the State [read more]

07:02 EDT

[JURIST] A federal judge Monday refused [PDF text] to apply a 1851 maritime law [text] that would have limited the possible damages for victims of the 2003 Staten Island ferry crash [Wikipedia backgrounder] to $14.4 million. The city of New York argued that the law, which was written to encourage [read more]

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