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Legal news from Wednesday, April 25, 2007
19:04 EDT

[JURIST] An Argentinean federal judge Wednesday declared amnesties granted to two members of Argentina's previous military dictatorship to be unconstitutional, saying the two men must serve out their life sentences in prison. Former military President Jorge Videla and former Navy chief Eduardo Massera [TrialWatch profiles] were convicted in 1985 of [read more]

18:04 EDT

[JURIST] Israel's state comptroller Wednesday recommended holding a criminal investigation into allegations that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert [official website; BBC profile] improperly favored his supporters in distributing business grants when he was trade minister in 2001. A number of Israeli politicians, including several from Olmert's own ruling coalition, responded to [read more]

17:04 EDT

[JURIST] A British court Wednesday ordered that a Moroccan man accused of being a UK contact for the September 11, 2001 hijackers and an associate of a suspected Spanish al Qaeda leader be released. The court said that the detention of Farid Hilali [GlobalSecurity profile] had become "arbitrary and unjustified" [read more]

15:04 EDT

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments Wednesday in the consolidated case [transcript, PDF; Duke Law backgrounder] of Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life [merit briefs], 06-969, and McCain v. Wisconsin Right to Life [merit briefs], 06-970, in which the Court must decide whether the [read more]

15:04 EDT

[JURIST] Several hundred Thai monks rallied outside the parliament building in Bangkok Wednesday to demand that the new Thai constitution declare Buddhism the national religion. The ruling Council for National Security [official website; Wikipedia backgrounder], headed by the Muslim General Sonthi Boonyaratglin [BBC profile], appears to be open to the [read more]

15:04 EDT

[JURIST] The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) [official website] has opened an investigation into whether executive branch employees have improperly engaged in political activity in violation of the Hatch Act [OSC materials], an OSC spokesperson said Tuesday. The Hatch Act prohibits the use of government resources for political purposes, and [read more]

14:04 EDT

[JURIST] The US House Judiciary Committee voted 32-6 Wednesday to grant Monica M. Goodling [JURIST news archive], former special counsel to US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, immunity from prosecution [press release] in exchange for her testimony on the firings of eight US Attorneys [JURIST news archive]. The committee also voted [read more]

13:04 EDT

[JURIST] Judges in Pakistan have postponed two separate proceedings in the case of suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry [official website; JURIST news archive] as criticism of President Pervez Musharraf's effective sacking of the country's chief magistrate [JURIST report] continues. On Wednesday the Pakistan Supreme Court announced a week adjournment of [read more]

12:04 EDT

[JURIST] US Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. [official profile] said Tuesday that the Defense Department's controversial Threat and Local Observation Notice system, or TALON database [Wired report; JURIST news archive] would be discontinued. Documents released by the Defense Department showed that the Pentagon labeled anti-war [read more]

10:04 EDT

[JURIST] The Italian government adopted a draft law Tuesday that would criminalize a wide range of environmentally-unsound activities, including damage to environmental resources, polluting, illegal dumping, and causing environmental catastrophes. Proposed sentencing guidelines authorize up to 10 years in jail for the most serious crime, causing environmental catastrophes, and authorize [read more]

10:04 EDT

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] handed down opinions in two cases Wednesday, including Smith v. Texas [Duke Law case backgrounder; JURIST report], where the Court held that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals incorrectly required Smith to show "egregious harm" before correcting the constitutional violation [read more]

09:04 EDT

[JURIST] Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine [official website] said during a Tuesday radio interview that he may be able to issue an executive order to close the loophole [JURIST report] that allowed Virgina Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho to purchase a firearm despite having been ordered [text] to receive psychiatric treatment [read more]

09:04 EDT

[JURIST] The constitutional crisis in Ecuador deepened Tuesday as the country's Congress [official website, in Spanish] struck back at high court judges who on Monday had ordered the reinstatement of 50 lawmakers [JURIST report] opposed to President Rafael Correa [official website, in Spanish; personal website] and sought to have those [read more]

09:04 EDT

[JURIST] Convicted civil rights lawyer Lynne Stewart [defense website] was disbarred from the New York Bar after her request to voluntarily resign from practicing law was rejected. Stewart was convicted [JURIST report; JURIST video] in 2005 of conspiracy and providing material support to terrorists [18 USC 2339A text] for helping [read more]

08:04 EDT

[JURIST] Authorities in Iraq are failing to guarantee due process and other basic human rights of some 3,000 detainees arrested after a new security plan was instituted in Baghdad in mid-February, according to a new report [PDF text; press release] released Wednesday by the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) [read more]

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