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Legal news from Friday, March 26, 2010
15:03 EDT

[JURIST] A three-judge panel of the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Friday that the Republican National Committee (RNC) [committee website] cannot raise "soft money" to use in state elections. "Soft money" refers to contributions beyond the ceilings imposed by campaign finance [JURIST [read more]

14:03 EDT

[JURIST] The Obama administration on Friday defended the legality of its use of unmanned predator drone strikes [JURIST news archive]. State Department Legal Adviser [official website] Harold Koh [academic profile] explained the administration's legal rationale in a speech [text] to the American Society of International Law [official website], saying the [read more]

14:03 EDT

[JURIST] US Defense Secretary Robert Gates [official profile] on Thursday appointed [press release] retired Navy Vice Adm. Bruce MacDonald [official profile] as the convening authority for military commissions [JURIST news archive]. Considered an expert in military law, MacDonald's experience as a former Navy judge advocate general played a significant role [read more]

13:03 EDT

[JURIST] US Attorney General Eric Holder [official profile] said Thursday that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) would appeal a judge's order to release a Guantanamo Bay detainee suspected of involvement in the 9/11 [JURIST news archive] World Trade Center attacks. In a decision released Monday, US District Court for [read more]

13:03 EDT

[JURIST] Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] agreed at belated International Women's Day Celebrations on Friday that gay rights should not be constitutionally protected [AFP report]. While Zimbabwean "sexual deviancy" laws prohibit homosexual acts, some lawmakers have [read more]

13:03 EDT

[JURIST] The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] on Friday adopted a resolution [A/HRC/13/L.15 materials] condemning Myanmar for rights violations [press release] and urging the ruling junta to conduct fair and free elections. The UNHRC also extended the mandate [UN News Centre report] for the Special Rapporteur on the [read more]

12:03 EDT

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts [official website] on Thursday sentenced [DOJ press release] a computer hacker to 20 years in prison for his role in the one of the largest identity theft cases in US history. Judge Patti Saris also ordered Albert [read more]

12:03 EDT

[JURIST] The Indonesian Constitutional Court [official website, in Bahasa] on Thursday rejected [press release, in Bahasa] a challenge to a controversial anti-pornography law. The law [text, in Bahasa] was purportedly designed to protect younger generations from pornographic and lewd materials. Critics challenged the bill for being too broad, discriminating against [read more]

11:03 EDT

[JURIST] The Russian Prosecutor General's Office [official website, in Russian] on Friday banned [press release, in Russian] Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf [Britannica backgrounder], finding it in violation of laws against extremism. The step was taken pursuant to Article I of Russia's Law to Combat Extremist Activities. According to the [read more]

11:03 EDT

[JURIST] The UN Human Rights Council [official website] on Thursday adopted a resolution [text, PDF] condemning religious defamation [JURIST news archive]. The non-binding resolution, proposed by Pakistan, passed with a vote of 20-17 [press release], with eight abstentions. The resolution has long been sought by Muslim countries, which claim that [read more]

11:03 EDT

[JURIST] A Rwandan opposition politician pleaded guilty Thursday to charges connected to the 1994 genocide [HRW backgrounder] and was sentenced to 17 years in prison. Joseph Ntawangundi, an aid to Hutu opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, was convicted in absentia [New Times report] in 2007, and originally sentenced to 19 [read more]

10:03 EDT

[JURIST] The Spanish Supreme Court [official website, in Spanish] on Thursday denied [order, DOC; in Spanish] an appeal by National Court judge Baltasar Garzon [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], ruling that he may be formally charged for exceeding his jurisdictional authority. The five-judge panel upheld [El Pais report, in Spanish] [read more]

09:03 EDT

[JURIST] The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) [official website] human rights office on Thursday called on the government to repeal [UN News Centre report] the controversial National Stability and Reconciliation Law [RFE/RL backgrounder], which provides amnesty for war crimes and human rights violations committed before December 2001. A [read more]

08:03 EDT

[JURIST] Bangladesh officials on Thursday announced the establishment of a special war crimes tribunal that will hear cases against individuals accused of war crimes during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. According to Law Minister Shafique Ahmed [official profile], the tribunal will include [AP report] three high court judges [read more]

07:03 EDT

[JURIST] The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] adopted a resolution Thursday condemning North Korea [press release] for human rights violations. The resolution [A/HRC/13/L.13 materials] decries "grave, widespread and systematic human rights abuses in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, in particular the use of torture and labour camps [read more]

06:03 EDT

[JURIST] The UK Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights [official website] recommended Thursday that the government review anti-terror laws and policies [report, PDF; press release] passed since the 9/11 [JURIST news archive] attacks to make sure they are necessary and do not violate human rights. The committee found that, despite [read more]

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