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Legal news from Tuesday, November 14, 2006
20:11 EDT

[JURIST] US Marines Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins III will face court-martial [USMC press release] for his role in the April kidnapping and murder of an Iraqi civilian in Hamdania [USMC timeline; JURIST news archive], the US Marine Corps announced Tuesday. Hutchins faces charges [DOC text] of murder, kidnapping, larceny, assault, [read more]

19:11 EDT

[JURIST] US District Judge Reggie B. Walton [official profile] denounced [PDF transcript] the disparity in federal sentencing requirements for possession of crack cocaine and cocaine powder in testimony Tuesday before the US Sentencing Commission [official website]. Citing the 100-1 differential (5 grams of crack carry a mandatory 5 year sentence [read more]

18:11 EDT

[JURIST] US Marine Cpl. Trent D. Thomas pleaded not guilty Tuesday at his arraignment hearing [USMC press release] to charges of murder, kidnapping, and other offenses related to the death of an Iraqi man in Hamdania [USMC timeline; JURIST archive]. Thomas is among several servicemen accused of kidnapping Hashim Ibrahim [read more]

16:11 EDT

[JURIST] Incoming US Senate Armed Services Committee [official website] chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) [official website] said Tuesday that his committee's priorities will include an investigation into CIA extraordinary rendition flights [JURIST news archive]. In an interview with the Financial Times, Levin said he was uncomfortable with the system and believes [read more]

15:11 EDT

[JURIST] Bosnia's national war crimes court sentenced [press release] a former Bosnian Serb soldier to 16 years in prison Tuesday in the first judgment handed down against a defendant transferred [ICTY press release] to Bosnia from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website] in The Hague. The [read more]

15:11 EDT

[JURIST] UK Attorney General Lord Peter Goldsmith [official profile] said Tuesday in an interview [recorded audio] on BBC Radio 4 that he wants to examine whether new religious hate legislation [JURIST report] passed in Parliament earlier this year and scheduled to come into force in February could fill a "gap" [read more]

15:11 EDT

[JURIST] The UK Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights [official website] has said that Britain's Human Rights Act [text; backgrounder; JURIST news archive] has "been used as a convenient scapegoat for unrelated administrative failings within government," in a new report [PDF text] released Tuesday. Several members of the British government, [read more]

14:11 EDT

[JURIST] Recently released Turkish-German Guantanamo Bay detainee Murat Kurnaz [Amnesty profile] has told Turkey's CNN Turk [media website, in Turkish] that while he was at the US military prison he was subjected to systematic torture at the hands of US personnel, including electric shocks, having his head submerged in water [read more]

13:11 EDT

[JURIST] A federal judge ruled Monday that officials at the Southern Michigan Correctional Facility [official website] must stop using non-medical restraints on prisoners because the "practice constitutes torture and violates the Eighth Amendment." Judge Richard Enslen of the US District Court for the Western District of Michigan issued the opinion [read more]

11:11 EDT

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice [official website] argued Monday that immigrants arrested while in the US and labeled as enemy combatants [JURIST news archive] under an expansive definition [WP report] in the new Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) [PDF text; JURIST news archive] can be indefinitely detained and [read more]

10:11 EDT

[JURIST] The South African National Assembly [official website] passed the Civil Unions Bill [JURIST report] Tuesday by a 230-41 vote, becoming the first African nation to recognize same-sex unions [JURIST news archive]. The bill, without specific reference to heterosexual or same-sex couples, recognizes the "voluntary union of two persons, which [read more]

10:11 EDT

[JURIST] Eleven former Abu Ghraib detainees and one Guantanamo detainee all claiming to have been victims of US torture initiated a criminal complaint [introduction in English, PDF; full complaint text in German, part one and part two, PDF] in Germany Tuesday asking that the German Federal Prosecutor [official website] investigate [read more]

09:11 EDT

[JURIST] US District Judge Reggie Walton ruled [opinion, PDF] Monday that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's proposal to limit what classified evidence I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [defense website; JURIST news archive] can present to the jury in the CIA leak trial [JURIST news archive] goes too far. Libby, charged [indictment, PDF; [read more]

09:11 EDT

[JURIST] Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont [official website; BBC profile] said Tuesday that martial law [JURIST report] will not be lifted in Thailand, as had been anticipated [JURIST report]. Thai Defense Minister Boonrawd Somtas said last week that Surayud was contemplating lifting martial law [JURIST report] before leaving for an [read more]

09:11 EDT

[JURIST] Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse [official website] has agreed to investigate [press release] allegations that government forces and the rebel group Karuna [Wikipedia backgrounder] has been using children in its fights against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) [faction website; CFR backgrounder], or the "Tamil Tigers," a UN [read more]

08:11 EDT

[JURIST] US Marine Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr. will plead guilty to aggravated assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice in connection to the alleged murder and kidnapping of an unarmed Iraqi civilian in Hamdania [USMC timeline; JURIST news archive], Shumate's lawyer said Monday. In exchange for the guilty plea, [read more]

08:11 EDT

[JURIST] City council members in Farmers Branch, Texas [official website] voted Monday to approve several anti-immigration measures including making English the town's official language [Res. No. 2006-130 text], imposing fines for landlords who rent to illegal aliens [Ordinance No. 2892 text], and permitting local police to screen suspects in custody. [read more]

08:11 EDT

[JURIST] Prosecutors for the US government Monday denied allegations by Jose Padilla [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] that he was tortured while in US custody at a Navy detention facility in South Carolina. Padilla claims that he was subjected to multiple means of torture and abuse including sleep deprivation, threats [read more]

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