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] The US Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) [official website] announced [press release] Thursday sanction against the Iranian prison company Tehran Prisons Organization and one of its senior officials, Sohrab Soleimani, for human rights abuses at its Evin Prison. According to the release, "Former prisoners of Evin Prison have reported harsh interrogations, forced confessions, psychological and physical torture, and denial of access to medical care." The sanctions are partly a reaction to an incident in...
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Friday dropped a federal lawsuit against the state of North Carolina over a bill requiring transgender people to use the public bathroom associated with their birth gender. The DOJ originally filed [press release] the lawsuit against the state in May 2016. The Justice Department decided to drop the lawsuit due to North Carolina's repeal of the bill last month. The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal have stated that they...
The Supreme Court of Mississippi [government website] ruled to keep the identification of drugs used in executions a secret in a 7-2 ruling [text, PDF] Thursday. The lawsuit was brought against the Mississippi Department of Corrections [official website] by the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center [advocacy website]. During oral arguments [video], James Craig from the RSMJC argued that it was important to disclose the identities of the drugs used in executions, and that doing so would pose "no economic...
The Missouri State House of Representatives [official website] approved a bill [materials] Thursday to standardize state-wide ride sharing rules and have sent it to the desk of Governor Eric Greitens [official website]. If signed by Greitens, House Bill 130 will create uniform state-wide rules governing ride sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft. The bill was sponsored by Representative Kirk Mathews [official profile] who claims that the bill will create thousands of jobs in Missouri and will entice ride-sharing companies...
[JURIST] The UN Security Council [official website] voted [UN report] Thursday to end a 13-year-long peacekeeping operation in Haiti. The council will slowly downgrade the UN's presence in Haiti to a small policing force over the next six months. Following the recommendations [text, PDF] of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres [official profile] the Council also agreed to establish the new United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH): an operation dedicated predominantly to aiding the Haitian government in strengthening its own...
The Office of Inspector General [official website] on Wednesday released an investigative report [text, PDF] with findings on allegations of gender discrimination and sexual harassment at Yellowstone National Park [government website]. The investigation began in September 2016 after an employee alleged that a pervasive culture of gender bias against women, sexual harassment, and financial misconduct existed in Yellowstone's maintenance division from 2011 to 2015. The report found credible evidence that male supervisors created a work environment that included unwelcome and...
Physician Jumana Nagarwala, was charged [DOJ press release] Thursday in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan [official website] for performing female genital mutilation (FGM) on minors out of a medical office in Livonia, Michigan. According to the complaint [text, PDF], the girls were as young as six to eight years of age and were transported from out of state by their parents or other family members secretly to the facility to perform the procedure. Federal authorities...
The Canadian government [official website] on Thursday announced a plan [press release] to legal recreational use of marijuana by July 2018. Canada is set to implement this plan into law nationwide, though the government has stated that it would leave specific details, such as commercial regulations, up to each individual province. Proponents of the plan have stated [WP report] the measure is intended to limit adolescent drug use and take advantage of the profits that the black market is currently...
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad [official website] on Thursday signed legislation [text, PDF] expanding gun rights in the state. House File 517 gives gun owners the ability [The Hill report] to defend themselves in public and preventing local governments from implementing their own rules. The law expands [NRA report] Iowa's stand your ground rules as well as individuals with concealed-carry permits to have firearms in the capitol building. The bill also eliminates the ability of the governor or other state officials...
[JURIST] Over two dozen US insurance companies associated with Travelers Companies [corporate website] initiated a lawsuit on Wednesday against ten defendants over the September 11 terrorist attacks, including companies affiliated with Osama bin Laden's family, Saudi banks and several charities. The companies filed suit [Reuters report] in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] and alleges that the defendants aided and abetted the attacks through activities in support of al Qaeda. The defendants include...
[JURIST] US President Donald Trump on Thursday signed [press release] a bill into law that scales back an Obama administration regulation [text] that protected certain federal funds for organizations that provide abortions, including Planned Parenthood [advocacy website]. The new law [materials] will allow states to block such abortion providers from federal funds provided through the Title X Family Planning program [backgrounder]. In response to the action Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Dawn Laguens stated [press release],...
Malaysia's Sepang court [official website, in Malay] on Thursday postponed until May proceedings against two women accused of killing Kim Jong Nam [Telegraph profile].The hearing [Bangkok Post report] was scheduled by request of the prosecutor to determine if the women would be tried jointly and in an attempt to move the case to a higher court. The court decided to postpone proceedings until May 30 to give time to collect more documents. If convicted, the women could face face death...
The Tokyo High Court [official website] on Thursday upheld a lower court obscenity decision against a female artist over distribution of 3-D printed models of vaginas. Megumi Igarashi [3DPrint materials] is an artist who was found guilty [Japan Times report] of distributing the models. The lower court had held that Igarushi violated article 175 of the Japanese Penal Code [materials] because the modes "realistically reproduce the shape (of female genitalia) and stimulate the viewers sexual desire". The appeals court also...
The Lok Sabha [official website] chamber of Indian parliament approved a bill [materials] Tuesday to provide for the prevention and control of HIV and AIDS as well as to protect the human rights of affected persons. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Bill was initially introduced [PRS report] in 2014 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare [official website]. The legislation includes a focus on confidentiality and consent in medical treatment and extends...
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] on Thursday unanimously held [decision] that Russia violated European human rights laws when it raided a terrorist-held school in the Russian town of Beslan in 2004, leading to the death of more than 330 civilian hostages. More than 180 children were killed in the attack. Russia contended in the suit that it should not be blamed for the admittedly tragic results, arguing the burden of compensation should not be placed on...
[JURIST] Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov [Forbes backgrounder] filed a slander lawsuit Wednesday against Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny [BBC backgrounder] in Moscow's Lyublinksy district court, according to court documents and the court press secretary. In a statement [TASS report], court service secretary said, "Usmanov's slander lawsuit against Navalny has been indeed filed with the Lyublinsky court. The court will decide on initiating the proceedings within 5 days." The lawsuit stems from Navalny and his non-profit organization, the Anti-Corruption Foundation [official website],...
[JURIST] The Center for Biological Diversity [official website] filed suit [complaint, PDF] on Wednesday targeting the construction of the US-Mexico border wall proposed by US President Donald Trump [official profile]. The group argues that the wall is in violation of environmental laws and urges federal agencies to conduct in-depth investigations into the environmental implications of the wall. The Center's executive director, Kierán Suckling [professional profile] expressed concern [press release] that the wall would "divide and destroy the incredible communities and...
[JURIST] Russia vetoed [UN press release] a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) [official website] resolution on Wednesday that would have condemned Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's [official website] use of neurologic gas against the Syrian town Khan Sheikhoun on April 4. The gas attack [Reuters report] prompted a responsive bombing by the United States against a Syrian airbase, increasing the rift between the US and Russia. Now, Russia has vetoed a resolution backed by the US, France and Britain to force...
[JURIST] The Parliament of Egypt [official website] on Tuesday gave its unanimous approval [press release] to a three-month state of emergency put in place [JURIST report] by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi [BBC profile]. Announced by Egypt's state-run news [Nile News, in Arabic], the state of emergency was instituted in response to two deadly Christian church bombings in the Egyptian cities Tanta and Alexandria. The Islamic State [BBC backgrounder] took credit for the bombings, prompting this state of emergency, explained as...
Zambian opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema was arrested Wednesday on treason charges for allegedly obstructing President Edgar Lungu's [BBC profile] motorcade. Police [official website] raided Hichilema's house and questioned him after he blocked the president's motorcade on Saturday. Hichilema has been defeated in two previous presidential elections [Aljazeera report] and claims that the last election was rigged. The police have stated Hichilema disobeyed police orders thereby putting the president in danger [Reuters report]. Hichilema has been charged with a non-bailable offense...

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