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Legal news from Wednesday, May 21, 2008
16:05 EDT

[JURIST] The 47-member UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] held elections [materials] for 15 open seats Wednesday, with four seats going to countries that have been harshly criticized by human rights groups. In a report [PDF text] to the UNHRC, Freedom House [advocacy website; press release] and UN Watch [read more]

15:05 EDT

[JURIST] The Law Lords, the judicial members of UK House of Lords, Wednesday denied the Home Office [official website] the right to appeal a lower court ruling which granted government compensation to an Algerian-born pilot wrongly detained after the September 11 attacks [JURIST news archive]. In February, the Court of [read more]

15:05 EDT

[JURIST] US President George W. Bush Wednesday signed into law [remarks transcript] a bill aimed at preventing employers and health insurers from discriminating against people who have a genetic predisposition to disease. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) [HR 493 materials] had passed with overwhelming majorities in both [read more]

14:05 EDT

[JURIST] The future of a landmark discrimination case [NBFA press release] brought by black farmers against the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) [official website] is uncertain after President George W. Bush vetoed the new Farm Bill [HR 2419 materials] Wednesday. The bill included a provision [AP file report] that would [read more]

12:05 EDT

[JURIST] The US Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals [official website] rejected a Georgia death row inmate's challenge to the state's method of execution Tuesday, ruling that he had missed the statute of limitations to file. Samuel David Crowe [advocacy profile] was convicted of murder and is scheduled to be executed [read more]

11:05 EDT

[JURIST] Japan's House of Councillors [official website, in Japanese] passed a bill Tuesday that would allow the country's space program to be used for defense purposes, including the development of spy satellites. The law, passed by an overwhelming majority of 221-14, was passed [JURIST report] by Japan's House of Representatives [read more]

11:05 EDT

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Switzerland [official website] Wednesday upheld the 2007 convictions of a married couple for supporting criminal activities by operating websites that published statements and video footage from al Qaeda, including the 2004 beheading of American engineer Paul M. Johnson, Jr [Washington Post report]. Moez Garsallaoui was [read more]

11:05 EDT

[JURIST] Eight alleged al-Qaeda operatives were given life sentences by a Jordan military court Wednesday as punishment for their roles in a 2004 failed chemical weapons attack [CNN report] on the US Embassy and other sites in Jordan. The plot was allegedly funded by al-Qaeda's top leader in Iraq, Abu [read more]

10:05 EDT

[JURIST] Russian President Dmitry Medvedev [official profile] promised Tuesday to take steps to tackle corruption and intimidation in the Russian judicial system, calling for reforms to better train and support judges and to preserve the rule of law. Speaking at a meeting of top Russian legal officials, Medvedev said [remarks]: [read more]

09:05 EDT

[JURIST] US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) [official website] agents were present during interrogations of terrorism suspects in which Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] or Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] officers used "borderline torture" interrogation tactics, but they did not participate in those interrogations, according to a report [read more]

09:05 EDT

[JURIST] Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Murat Kurnaz [Amnesty profile; JURIST news archive], a Turkish citizen born in Germany, testified Tuesday before the US House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight regarding torture he allegedly suffered [subcommittee materials] while in US custody in Afghanistan and at [read more]

08:05 EDT

[JURIST] Former Khmer Rouge [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] minister for social affairs Ieng Thirith [JURIST news archive] made her first appearance in court Tuesday at a bail hearing before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website; JURIST news archive]. Thirith was arrested [JURIST report] in [read more]

08:05 EDT

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] ruled [decision, PDF] Tuesday that a Virginia law [text] banning certain types of late-term abortions is unconstitutional. In 2005, a panel of judges on the same court declared the law unconstitutional [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] because it lacked [read more]

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