JURIST Legal News

JURIST's legal news service, powered by a team of over 40 law student reporters and editors led by Professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
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[JURIST] Former president of Madagascar Marc Ravalomanana [BBC profile] was arrested on Monday when he returned to the country after five years of living in exile in South Africa. Tear gas was fired and security forces were seen outside his house before he was detained, a BBC reporter stated [BBC report]. Ravalomana had made several attempts to return to Madagascar since his exile after a military coup in 2009, but was continuously denied entry by interim president Andry Rajoelina [BBC...
[JURIST] A Minnesota judge on Monday approved a settlement [press release] in a landmark sexual abuse case involving Catholic church leaders that neglected to warn parishioners about an abusive priest. The plaintiffs accused the church leaders of creating a public nuisance by failing to warn the parishioners, which is the first time such a theory has been used in a clergy sexual abuse case nationwide. By using this theory the plaintiffs were able to look for evidence of sexual abuse...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Sunday urged [press release] the Bangladeshi government not to revise its law to lower the minimum age for marriage, calling for it to set the minimum age for marriage at 18 instead. HRW's statement came in response to media reports that the cabinet of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina [JURIST news archive] is considering changing the country's law to make the minimum marrying age for girls 16 years old. The revisions, according...
[JURIST] A Chinese court on Monday sentenced 12 people to death and gave 15 others suspended death sentences for their involvement in attacks on a police station and government offices in south Xinjiang [official website, in Chinese] in July. Nine others were sentenced [ABC/Reuters report] to life imprisonment, and another 20 people received shorter sentences. According to a Xinjiang government news outlet, the defendants were convicted [BBC report] of several charges including organizing and participating in terror crimes, homicide and...
[JURIST] New Zealand Prime Minister John Key [official profile] announced [press release] Monday a targeted review of the nation's legislation "in relation to foreign terrorist fighters." The four-week review will be led by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and, according to Key, "is likely to recommend that some urgent changes be made to legislation." The PM acknowledged that the government knows "that a small number of New Zealanders have travelled overseas to engage in the fighting. We're...
[JURIST] The US Embassy in Kyrgyzstan [official website] issued a press release [text] Friday condemning proposed legislation that would ban "gay propaganda." According to Reuters, the proposed bill would allow [Reuters report] for fines and imprisonment up to one year for individuals found "'forming a positive attitude to untraditional sexual relations' among minors or in mass media." In the press release, the US expressed concern over the law, stating that it, "fundamentally threatens human rights, Kyrgyzstan's democratic gains and constitutional...
[JURIST] US District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos on Saturday filed a permanent injunction against the enforcement of a Texas voter ID law [SB 14 text]. The injunction follows a 147-page opinion [text, PDF] issued [JURIST report] on Thursday in which Ramos found that the voter ID law violates the Fourteenth and Fifteenth [texts] Amendments of the US Constitution because it is racially discriminatory and places a substantial burden on the right to vote. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott [official website]...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Alaska [official website] on Sunday overturned [order, PDF] Alaska's same-sex marriage ban. Five same-sex couples living in Alaska brought the action pursuant to 42 USC § 1983 and filed a motion for summary judgement. Judge Timothy Burgess found that Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage and refusal to recognize same-sex marriages lawfully performed in other states is unconstitutional "as a deprivation of basic due process and equal protection principles...
[JURIST] The Kansas Supreme Court [official website] on Friday temporarily halted [order, PDF] the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. On the same day, the ACLU [official website] filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state's same-sex marriage ban. The stay is set to last until November 6, when oral arguments will be heard on the issue. The court outlined the potential issue as "whether Kansas' state constitutional, statutory, or common law bans on same-sex marriage are permissible under the...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [official website] on Sunday urged [press release] the UN and donating countries to press Israel to lift restrictions on the movement of people and goods in and out of the Gaza Strip. HRW claims that the restrictions are "disproportionate to security considerations" and "unnecessarily harm people's access to food, water, education, and other fundamental rights in Gaza." The restrictions date back as far as 2000 when Israel blocked Palestinians in Gaza from traveling to the...
[JURIST] Russian President Vladimir Putin [BBC backgrounder] on Saturday ordered [press release] Russian troops to withdraw from the Ukrainian border in preparation for an upcoming meeting between the presidents of the two countries. The Russian government website released the statement in regards to the order stating, "Putin ordered to launch the return of the troops to their permanent bases. In total, these are 17.6 military servicemen who were trained on the shooting ranges of Rostov region in summer." It's reported...
[JURIST] The Pakistan Government [official website] on Sunday wrote a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] pleading for assistance in border protection after at least 14 people were shot and killed near Kashmir. Pakistan has accused [Times of India report] India of deliberately violating the established ceasefire by allowing cross border shootings. Pakistan prime minister on national security and foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz stated within the letter to the UN, "I write to bring to your urgent attention...
[JURIST] An Egyptian court on Saturday jailed eight men, including two Muslim Brotherhood leaders, for 15 years over the torture of a lawyer during 2011 uprisings against former president Hosni Mubarak [JURIST news archive]. The defendants were convicted of torturing, electrocuting and sexually assaulting a lawyer after locking him up for three days near Cairo's Tahrir Square when it was filled with protesters against Mubarak. Muslim Brotherhood [JURIST news archive] leaders Mohamed al-Beltagy and Safwat Hegazy, an Al Jazeera journalist,...
[JURIST] Federal courts on Friday cleared the way for same-sex marriage in North Carolina and Idaho. A judge for the US District Court for the Western District of North Carolina [official website] struck down [order, PDF] that state's ban on same-sex marriage on constitutional grounds. US District Judge Max Cogburn stated that the issue before the court was neither political nor moral, but rather, it was "a legal issue" and that it is now "settled law in the Fourth Circuit...
[JURIST] Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab [personal twitter account] was charged on Thursday with insulting the ministries of defense and interior over his tweets that alleged Bahrain's security institutions were the first incubators for extremist ideology. Without naming Rajab, the public prosecution statement ordered [Bahrain News Agency report] his referral in remand before the Third Lower Criminal Court on charges of tort and libel in public against official institutions. A court date is set for October 19. The charge...
[JURIST] Alabama death row inmate Christopher Lee Price on Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit [text, PDF] against the Alabama Department of Corrections [official website] claiming that the new lethal injection mix planned for use in his execution is unconstitutional. According to the complaint, filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Alabama [official website], Alabama plans to change the mix of drugs used to execute death row inmates, but this new mix of drugs has neither been...
[JURIST] Members of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances [official website] said Friday that Mexico's investigation of the forty-three missing Guerrero students and the deaths of six other students in the state is a test of the country's willingness and capacity to respond [press release] to allegations of human rights violations. The students disappeared [WSJ report] after local police in Iguala opened fire on them and while about 25 students were arrested by local police, the rest...
[JURIST] Saudi Arabia is persecuting rights activists and silencing government critics, according to a report [text, PDF; press release] issued Friday by Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website]. According to AI, members of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) have been persecuted since the Arab Spring in 2011. The Saudi Arabian government has reportedly targeted 11 of the founding members of the ACPRA individually since 2011, eight of whom are currently detained, and the remaining three of whom are...
[JURIST] An independent UN human rights expert on Thursday urged South Korea to adopt an anti-discrimination law [press release]. UN Special Rapporteur on racism Mutuma Ruteere said an anti-discrimination law is particularly important because of increasing globalization, with many foreign workers coming to Korea for employment opportunities: "As Korean society becomes more exposed to foreigners and migrant workers living in the country, it is important to continue addressing the issue of racism, xenophobia and discrimination." According to Ruteere, an anti-discrimination...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Thursday temporarily blocked [order, PDF] Wisconsin from enforcing its voter ID law [Act 23 text]. The order vacates a September 12 ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which stayed an injunction [JURIST report] on the law's enforcement. Thursday's decision, issued without comment, came as the result of an emergency request [JURIST report] filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Advancement Project [advocacy websites]. Justice Samuel...

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