Legal news from Wednesday, July 11, 2012

[JURIST] A human rights group report was released on Wednesday documenting 81 instances of sexual assault and rape in Syria since anti-government demonstrations began in March 2011. Women Under Siege [advocacy website], a project of the Women's Media Center, has been collecting reports of sexualized violence in Syria for several … [read more]

[JURIST] The National Association of Broadcasters [advocacy website] on Tuesday filed an emergency motion [text, PDF] with the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] challenging a new regulation that is expected to go into effect in August. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official website] … [read more]

[JURIST] A non-profit United Nations [official website] watch group released a report last month criticizing the UN's lack of a comprehensive internal security policy in the face of its own increased reliance on private military and security companies (PMSCs). In producing Dangerous Partnership: Private Military & Security Companies and the … [read more]

[JURIST] Microsoft Inc. and Motorola [corporate websites] on Tuesday filed a joint motion in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington [official website] asking the court to suspend three patent cases between the parties until a trial is held on a licensing disagreement. Microsoft filed suit against … [read more]

[JURIST] The Ivory Coast [BBC News backgrounder; JURIST news archive] justice ministry announced Tuesday that two allies of former president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] have been charged with genocide relating to the months of post-election violence that followed Gbagbo's refusal to step down after his defeat in … [read more]

[JURIST] Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak [official website] on Wednesday announced plans to replace the 1948 Sedition Act [text, PDF] with the new National Harmony Act. The prime minister stated [NST report] that the new act will ensure the protection of the right to freedom of speech while balancing national … [read more]

[JURIST] The Trial Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) [official website] on Wednesday upheld [decision, PDF] the decision to try four accused assassins of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] in absentia. The Chamber rejected the defense motion [motion, PDF] that challenged the … [read more]

[JURIST] Migrants residing in Greece face a rising culture of discrimination and violence, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said in a report [text, PDF; press release] on Wednesday. The report, entitled "Hate on the Streets: Xenophobic Violence in Greece," documents instances of abuse and discrimination against migrants who traveled … [read more]

[JURIST] Members of the US House of Representatives [official website] on Tuesday filed an amicus brief [text, PDF] with the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] regarding the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) [text, PDF; JURIST news archive], which denies federal recognition of … [read more]

[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) and three other rights groups on Wednesday urged [letter, PDF; press release] the UN Security Council to renew the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) [official website], which is scheduled to end on July 20. In an open letter to the Security Council, the rights groups … [read more]

[JURIST] The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) [advocacy website] on Wednesday said [press release] that press freedom in the Maldives has been deteriorating since the resignation of former president Mohamed Nasheed. Nasheed, who was the first democratically elected presdient of the Maldives, has claimed that he was forced from office … [read more]

[JURIST] A confirmed al Qaeda member and Osama bin Laden [JURIST news archives] associate was released [DOD press release] from Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] and returned to his native Sudan on Wednesday after more than a decade of detention. Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi [DOD materials; JURIST news archive], 50, … [read more]

[JURIST] The National Assembly of Pakistan [official website] on Monday approved a bill that would shield senior officials from contempt of court proceedings. The move by the lower house of the country's parliament is seen as an attempt to exempt the new prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf [BBC profile] from … [read more]

[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy websites] came together on Wednesday to urge the Sudanese government [press release] to end the detention and abuse of protesters in Sudan. In a press release, the two groups estimated that Sudanese security forces have detained more than 2,000 peaceful … [read more]

[JURIST] A US citizen was released from a Thai prison Tuesday on a royal pardon that commuted a two-and-a-half-year sentence for defaming the Thai royal family. Thai-born Joe Gordon (Thai name Lerpong Wichaikhammat), 55, is a Colorado used-car salesman who was arrested [BBC report] last May while vacationing in Thailand … [read more]

[JURIST] The Russian State Duma [official website, in Russian] on Wednesday approved [session minutes, in Russian] the third reading of a controversial Internet regulation bill. The bill, which gives the Russian government the ability to completely block access to certain websites, is described by its authors as a means of … [read more]

[JURIST] The Maryland Board of Elections [official website] on Tuesday officially certified [certification notice, PDF] a referendum petition seeking to challenge the state's new same-sex marriage law [SB 241, PDF] in the upcoming election. In a letter, the Board of Elections stated that the office had confirmed 122,481 signatures in … [read more]

[JURIST] The Constitutional Court of Romania [official website, in Romanian] stated on Tuesday that at least 50 percent of the electorate must turn out for the July 29 national referendum to decide whether President Traian Basescu [official website, in Romania] should be ousted from the presidency. If less than 50 … [read more]

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