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Legal news from Thursday, May 18, 2006
19:05 EDT

[JURIST] A federal judge Thursday dismissed [order, PDF] a highly-publicized lawsuit [materials] brought by the ACLU against CIA Director George Tenet and other agency officials and employees on behalf of Khalid El-Masri [JURIST news archive], a German national who alleges [el-Masri statement] that he was kidnapped in Macedonia in 2003 [read more]

18:05 EDT

[JURIST] General Michael Hayden [official profile] defended the legality of the NSA's domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive] Thursday and said that the program was a critical tool in tracking down terrorists, in testimony during his confirmation hearing [full transcript, PDF] before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence [official website] [read more]

17:05 EDT

[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned in a speech delivered in Japan Thursday that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [UN backgrounder] faces a twin crisis of "confidence and complicity":The Treaty embodies a contract between the nuclear weapon States and the rest of the international community. The former committed themselves to move [read more]

16:05 EDT

[JURIST] The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court [official website] ruled [text; oral argument video] Thursday that tobacco giant Philip Morris Inc. [corporate website] cannot avoid liability in a wrongful death lawsuit by claiming that smokers should know that cigarettes are dangerous. Brenda Haglund had sued the tobacco company for the wrongful [read more]

15:05 EDT

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Thursday reheard oral arguments on whether police must continue to knock and announce themselves before entering a person’s home to seize evidence with a warrant in order for the seizure to be constitutional under the Fourth Amendment [GPO backgrounder] [read more]

15:05 EDT

[JURIST] A disciplinary panel for two Egyptian judges who complained of alleged fraud in last year’s parliamentary elections [JURIST report] Thursday reprimanded pro-reform judge Hisham Bastawisi but cleared Mahmoud Mekki of whistleblowing allegations. The rulings came amid clashes [JURIST report] between riot police and supporters of the judges which began [read more]

13:05 EDT

[JURIST] Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] will be freed on bail as he fights extradition [JURIST report] to Peru on corruption and human rights charges [Trial Watch backgrounder]. A panel of the Supreme Court of Chile [official website] voted 4-1 Thursday to free Fujimori, who [read more]

13:05 EDT

[JURIST] The Serbian Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the sentences of four paramilitary group members convicted of war crimes, according to reports from state-run television. The members of the Serbian Avengers were convicted last year [JURIST report] of abducting, torturing and murdering 16 Muslims riding in a bus near Serbia's [read more]

12:05 EDT

[JURIST] The US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] on Thursday voted to send a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] to the Senate floor for consideration. The amendment [text], sponsored by Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO) [official website] and co-sponsored by 29 others, defines marriage as "the union [read more]

12:05 EDT

[JURIST] Jailed Egyptian opposition leader Ayman Nour [JURIST news archive] Thursday lost his appeal for a retrial following his December conviction [JURIST report] for forging signatures on documents registering his Al-Ghad Party [party website] for last year's presidential election {JURIST news archive]. Nour [BBC profile], who finished a distant second [read more]

12:05 EDT

[JURIST] In an historic proclamation approved [recorded video] Thursday, Nepal's reinstated parliament stripped all the privileges and powers of King Gyanendra [official profile; BBC profile], who gave up direct rule of the country after 19-days of mass protests [JURIST news archive] in April. The proclamation effectively makes Nepal's 237-year old [read more]

11:05 EDT

[JURIST] The Oregon Court of Appeals [official website] has vacated [opinion text] a $150 million jury verdict against cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris [corporate website] and remanded the case for a new trial to determine punitive damages. Philip Morris appealed a judgment by Multnomah County Circuit Judge Roosevelt Robinson, who found [read more]

11:05 EDT

[JURIST] Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal has said that 16 Saudi detainees now held by the US at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] will be returned to Saudi Arabia [press release] in the next few days. During an interview [transcript] with US media Wednesday, al-Faisal said that after their return [read more]

11:05 EDT

[JURIST] The US Securities and Exchange Commission [official website] has said that all public companies, regardless of their size, must eventually comply with rules [press release] implementing the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 [text, PDF], which is designed to protect investors. The decision Wednesday follows months of requests by small and [read more]

10:05 EDT

[JURIST] James Tobin [SourceWatch profile], President Bush's 2004 campaign chairman for New England, has been sentenced to 10 months in prison [press release] after being convicted [press release] in December for his involvement in jamming phone lines to block Democratic voting drives [JURIST report] during the 2002 Senate election in [read more]

09:05 EDT

[JURIST] The United States on Thursday introduced a new draft nuclear weapons treaty at a meeting of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament [official website] in Geneva. The Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) [FAS backgrounder], tabled [press release; prepared statement] by Stephen G. Rademaker [official profile], assistant secretary of the [read more]

09:05 EDT

[JURIST] Thousands of Turks marched in Ankara on Thursday to denounce the shooting of five judges [JURIST report] Wednesday in the Council of State [official website], Turkey's highest administrative court. The judges were shot by an attacker, reported to be a lawyer, who disagreed with a recent ruling made by [read more]

08:05 EDT

[JURIST] US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld [official profile] confirmed Wednesday that military officials are conflicted about the specific guidelines on interrogation techniques [JURIST report] to be included in a new Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation [current text] during a hearing with the Defense Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations [read more]

04:05 EDT

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] lauded Mexican President Vicente Fox [official website, in Spanish] Wednesday for advances made in increasing the transparency of the Mexican government, but warned in a new report [text] on human rights in the country that more progress was needed. HRW pointed to continuing difficulties [read more]

02:05 EDT

[JURIST] Syrian authorities have arrested leading human rights lawyer Anwar al-Bunni [2005 interview; Amnesty International backgrounder] just days after Sunday's arrest of prominent writer Michel Kilo [BBC News report], prompting speculation that a large government crackdown on dissidents is underway. Amnesty International [advocacy website] said in a statement Wednesday that [read more]

01:05 EDT

[JURIST] The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals [official website] Wednesday lifted [order] its stay of execution [JURIST report] for Derrick S. O'Brien [NCADP profile], citing insufficient factual or scientific evidence [concurring opinion text] proving that lethal injection causes suffering and leads to a painful death. Death penalty opponents have criticized [read more]

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