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Legal news from Thursday, February 16, 2006
20:02 EDT

[JURIST] US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] Thursday rejected a call [letter, PDF; JURIST report] from thirty-one Senate Democrats to recuse himself from the ongoing investigation of Jack Abramoff [JURIST news archive] because he was too close to the President and other top officials associated with the lobbyist. In [read more]

16:02 EDT

[JURIST] The US Senate moved closer towards a long-term renewal of the USA Patriot Act [PDF text; JURIST news archive] Thursday, easily overcoming a filibuster [JURIST report] by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) [official website] in a 96-3 vote [roll call]. Sens. Jim Jeffords (I-VT) [official website] and Robert Byrd (D-WV) [read more]

15:02 EDT

[JURIST] The Constitutional Court of Thailand [official website], the country's highest court, decided Thursday not to hear a petition [JURIST report] to impeach Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [official profile], ruling 8-6 that the petition did not clearly state how the Prime Minister was personally involved in a deal where his [read more]

15:02 EDT

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] has sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official website] seeking to dissuade the committee from calling former Attorney General John Ashcroft [official profile] and Deputy Attorney General James Comey [official profile] to testify before the panel, saying [read more]

15:02 EDT

[JURIST] The UK Daily Telegraph [media website] has said that it will drop any further appeals in its legal battle with British MP George Galloway [BBC profile]. In January, the Telegraph lost its appeal [JURIST report] when a British appeals court upheld a lower court order [opinion text] requiring the [read more]

14:02 EDT

[JURIST] US District Judge Henry Kennedy on Thursday ordered [PDF opinion] the US Department of Justice to respond to a FOIA request [PDF text; JURIST report] filed by the Electronic Information Privacy Center (EPIC) [advocacy website] and produce documents related to the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive]. [read more]

14:02 EDT

[JURIST] British legal experts and politicians are bracing for a major confrontation between the upper and lower houses of Parliament when the Terrorism Bill [text; Home Office backgrounder] comes before the House of Lords again on February 28 after Wednesday's Commons reinstatement [JURIST report] of a "glorification of terrorism" offense [read more]

13:02 EDT

[JURIST] The United States has dismissed as a "discredit to the UN" a report [PDF text; press release] released Thursday by UN special rapporteurs making up the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the UN Commission on Human Rights [official website] calling on the US to immediately close its detention [read more]

12:02 EDT

[JURIST] US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] repeatedly stressed his personal and institutional commitment to the protection of civil rights in a speech [text] to Justice Department staff Wednesday setting out the Department's priorities for the coming year. First on his formal list was the fight against terrorism, followed [read more]

12:02 EDT

[JURIST] Newmont Mining Corporation [corporate website; JURIST news archive] agreed on Thursday to settle a civil suit brought by Indonesia for $30 million, ending one of two significant legal battles between the two parties. The settlement comes after Indonesia decided it would not appeal the ruling that dismissed [JURIST report] [read more]

12:02 EDT

[JURIST] The Australian Parliament ended a de facto ban on the so-called "abortion drug" RU-486 (also known as Mifepristone) [Wikipedia backgrounder] on Thursday by removing the need for approval by the Health Minister to use the drug. Tony Abbott [official website], a strong anti-abortionist, had refused all applications for its [read more]

12:02 EDT

[JURIST] The Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) and Maoist rebels [BBC backgrounder] are violating international human rights laws [OHCHR press release, PDF], according to a new report [text] released by the UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] Thursday. The OHCHR-Nepal report outlines the investigation of [read more]

11:02 EDT

[JURIST] Iraq's Interior Ministry Thursday announced an investigation into claims that a police death squad has been operating in Iraq, either working for, or claiming to work for the ministry itself. The US military says it recently detained 22 men in police uniforms [Chicago Tribune report] who were about to [read more]

11:02 EDT

[JURIST] Rene Preval [Wikipedia profile] became the president-elect of Haiti [JURIST news archive] Thursday after the interim government and the Provisional Election Council (CEP) [official website] reached an agreement allowing him to exceed the necessary 50.1 percent of the majority of votes in the country's February 7 election [JURIST report; [read more]

11:02 EDT

[JURIST] Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) [official website], chairman of the US House Judiciary Committee, has complained of bias in a recent report of the Congressional Research Service [official website] on the NSA domestic spying program [JURIST news archive]. In a letter [PDF text] written last week he said that a [read more]

09:02 EDT

[JURIST] Leading Thursday's international brief, the civilian criminal trial of Ugandan opposition leader Dr. Kizza Besigye [BBC profile] and his 22 co-defendants has been postponed until after the upcoming national elections in Uganda. Ugandan Deputy Director for Public Prosecutions Simon Byabakama Mugenyi was forced to ask for a continuance after [read more]

08:02 EDT

[JURIST] In an interview [transcript] on the Fox News Channel Wednesday, US Vice President Dick Cheney [official profile] said that while he may be called as a witness [Reuters report] in the CIA leak case [JURIST news archive] and therefore could not comment specifically on it, he does have authority [read more]

07:02 EDT

[JURIST] Recently released photographs and video showing the apparent abuse of prisoners by US personnel at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST news archive] show clear violations of international humanitarian law, a spokeswoman for International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) [official website] said Thursday. The previously unpublished images [JURIST report], [read more]

05:02 EDT

[JURIST Europe] Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov [official profile in Russian] Wednesday told the Duma [official website in Russian], Russia's lower house, that Russian society was to blame for instances of military conscript abuse and hazing that have scandalized the country. He particularly faulted television and the media for contributing [read more]

04:02 EDT

[JURIST Europe] The European Union (EU) [official website] is voicing reservations about human rights in Belarus [government website] in the wake of a growing number of reports of abuses there. At the European Parliament [official website] in Strasbourg on Wednesday, Austrian State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Hans Winkler [official profile] [read more]

03:02 EDT

[JURIST Europe] Microsoft [corporate website] responded Wednesday to European Commission (EC) [official website] complaints of non-compliance [JURIST report] with orders from a 2004 EC antitrust ruling to produce technical data by insisting in a 75-page report that the EC had ignored significant evidence [Microsoft press release] relating to the release [read more]

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