[JURIST] Colombian prosecutors have indicted prominent political boss Alvaro Araujo Noguera, accusing him of complicity in the 2002 kidnapping of a member of a rival political clan. Some say the kidnapping is part of a campaign by illegal paramilitary groups [JURIST news archive] to elect sympathetic politicians.
Members of the political elite in Colombia [JURIST news archive] have been repeatedly accused of conspiring with right-wing paramilitary groups. Last week, authorities arrested a former intelligence chief [JURIST report] on charges of murder and conspiracy for allegedly contracting with paramilitaries to assassinate political opponents, including human rights activists [JURIST report] and union leaders. AP has more.
[JURIST] White House [official website] and US Justice Department officials have confirmed that seven US federal prosecutors were fired because they had not adequately carried out President George W. Bush's policies on immigration and firearms issues, according to a report in the Washington Post Saturday. The seven US Attorneys [DOJ backgrounder], who had been probing corruption among Republicans, subsequently received phone calls on December 7 saying that they were being fired, without explanation. Administration officials said Friday the seven were fired partly because members of Congress complained about their performances last fall. Sen. Pete V. Domenici [official website] (R-N.M.) specifically raised concerns about the performance of then-U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias of New Mexico.
The firings have sparked arguments about the power of the US Attorney General to indefinitely appoint replacement prosecutors, and also allegations that the firings were politically charged. Earlier this week Iglesias told reporters that federal lawmakers pressured him [JURIST report] to speed up indictments of local Democrats in time for the November elections. In testimony [JURIST report] before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty [official profile] denied that the removal of the attorneys was motivated by political considerations. The Washington Post has more.
[JURIST] Egyptian judge and president of the judges' syndicate Yahia Ragheb Daqruri said according to a report published Saturday that women cannot serve as judges because it would be against Sharia law [CFR backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Daqruri's statements, appearing in the Saturday edition of independent daily Al-Masri Al-Yom [media website, in Arabic], question the appropriateness of women judges deliberating "alone in a room with two or more male judges" and assert that women judges will inevitably "become pregnant at some point, and that [the judge's pregnancy] will certainly have an impact on the [judicial] prestige and on judges' public image." Daqruri, head of the Judges' Club, also implied that "giving birth can also have an impact on the cases [a female judge] is dealing with being dealt [correctly]."
Article Two of Egyptian Constitution [text, in English] states that "the principal source of legislation is the Sharia." Article Two is the result of a 1980 constitutional amendment and has been interpreted to prohibit the enactment of legislation are in fundamental contradiction with traditional interpretations of the Sharia. AFP has more.
[JURIST] A Moroccan appeals court convicted 12 Islamic militants on terrorism charges Friday, handing down prison sentences ranging from two to 15 years. Eight of the defendants allegedly had ties to al-Qaeda [BBC backgrounder] and had volunteered to fight in Iraq [JURIST news archive].
The main defendant, Tunisian Mohamed Ben El Hadi Messahel, allegedly made contact with seven of the other defendants when he entered Morocco in January of last year. Messahel received the stiffest sentence of 15 years. AP has more.
[JURIST] A Kuwaiti court Saturday acquitted former Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees Omar Rajab Amin and Abdullah Kamel al-Kundari of charges of fighting against US forces in Afghanistan because of insufficient evidence. The two were repatriated [JURIST report] on September 15, 2006, after having been detained at Guantanamo Bay since January 2002. The verdict is not final, however, as the prosecutor can appeal before the courts of appeal and the court of cassation [POGAR backgrounder]. A total of eight Kuwaitis have been repatriated from detention at Guantanamo Bay. One of the eight has been completely acquitted by all three courts, while five others are awaiting the decision of the court of cassation.
On Thursday, the US Department of Defense announced that it has transferred five more detainees [JURIST report; GlobalSecurity.org timeline] to Afghanistan and Tajikistan for detention or release, bringing the total number of detainees released from Guantanamo so far this year to twelve. Some 85 other detainees are currently eligible for transfer or release, but have not yet been handed over to their home governments. The US still holds another 385 detainees under the label of "enemy combatants" [JURIST news archive]. AFP has more.
[JURIST] The jury in the perjury trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [defense website; JURIST news archive] asked US District Judge Reggie B. Walton [official profile] for a "clarification of the term 'reasonable doubt'" Friday, concluding the eighth day of deliberations in the high profile CIA leak case [JURIST news archive]. The jurors' written question specifically asked "is it necessary for the government to present evidence that it is not humanly possible for someone not to recall an event in order to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt?". The jury is expected to receive the answer Monday morning, when the jury returns to a full day of deliberations.
Last Monday, Walton dismissed a juror [JURIST report] for being exposed to information that "obviously disqualifies her." Deliberations continued with just 11 jurors. Lawyers made their final arguments [JURIST report] last Tuesday, with the defense arguing that Libby was a scapegoat for presidential aide Karl Rove's disclosures. In its final remarks the prosecution argued that Libby was merely trying to cover up a potentially illegal intelligence leak of former undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity. Libby is not charged with leaking Plame's identity, but instead faces perjury and obstruction of justice charges [indictment, PDF; JURIST report] in connection with the investigation into the leak. AP has more.
Feedroll provides free Paper Chase news boxes with headlines or digests precisely tailored to your website's look and feel, with content updated every 15 minutes. Customize and get the code.
Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.