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] Three Cairo Criminal Court judges presiding over the trial of 35 Muslim Brotherhood [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] members and leaders resigned from the proceedings Tuesday without elaboration. Media outlets suggest [AP report] the judges stepped down because of pressure from Egyptian authorities to hold the trial inside Tora prison, a maximum-security facility currently housing the Brotherhood members. The trial began in August in the Criminal Court's chambers, but several high-level Brotherhood members, including Mohammed Badie, Khairat al-Shater and...
[JURIST] A South African court on Tuesday sentenced 20 members of white supremacist group Boeremag [backgrounder] to prison terms ranging from five to 20 years in the nation's first post-apartheid [Cornell LII backgrounder] treason trial. The extremist group is responsible [AP report] for nine bombings in Johannesburg's Soweto township in 2002. Earlier, the court convicted the 20 men of murder, terrorism and high treason after a 10 year trial. The convictions also relate to an alleged plot to stage a...
[JURIST] The pre-trial judge for the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) [official website; UN backgrounder] on Monday transferred [press release] the case files for Ayyash et al. [case materials] to the trial chamber, marking the start of the transition to the trial phase. Four Hezbollah [CFR backgrounder] militants were indicted in 2011 on charges including terrorism and intentional homicide in a 2005 truck bombing that killed former Lebanese prime minister Rafil Hariri [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and 21...
[JURIST] A federal judge on Monday ruled [opinion, PDF] that provisions of the new Texas abortion law [HB2] violate the US Constitution, declaring the law, which was slated to take effect on Tuesday, unenforceable. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood [advocacy websites] filed the suit [JURIST report] to block two provisions of the law that would require physicians who provide abortions to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital and included higher restrictions on the use of...
[JURIST] Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange [official website; press release] and Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) [media website; press release], a Roman Catholic broadcasting network, filed a suit on Monday in federal court to challenge the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [text; JURIST backgrounder] provision that requires employers to include contraception and abortion-inducing drugs in their employees' health care plans. The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Alabama [official...
[JURIST] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [BBC profile] announced Sunday that Israel will participate in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] review [review docket] of its human rights record, ending an 18-month boycott. All members of the UN are expected to undergo this review every four years to assess the state's human rights situation. Israel, which has repeatedly claimed that the council exhibits an anti-Israel bias, would have been the first nation to boycott a review. It is...
[JURIST] The US Attorney for the District of New Jersey [official website] filled charges [indictment, PDF] Monday against a UK national for allegedly hacking into thousands of computer systems operated by the US government. The accused, Lauri Love and three unnamed co-conspirators are accused of infiltrating the computer systems of numerous US government agencies including the US Missile Defense Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) [official websites], in order to steal data...
[JURIST] The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website; JURIST backgrounder] asked the court Saturday to set aside their decision [press release; JURIST report] earlier this month allowing Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta [official website; JURIST news archive] not to be present for his whole trial on charges of crimes against humanity. The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) [official website] has requested [Capital News report] Trial Chamber V(b) to either reconsiders its decision to conditionally excuse Kenyatta from continuous...
[JURIST] The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) [official website] on Monday condemned [press release] the recent attack on civilians in south-eastern Afghan province of Ghazni that killed 19 individuals. The attack used [AP report] an improvised explosive device (IED) to target a bus, filled with mostly women and children, that was returning from a wedding ceremony. Jan Kubis, head of UNAMA, called for an end to this type of targeted violence against civilians. The UNAMA also noted that this...
[JURIST] Nations in the Middle East and North Africa are failing to provide protections for domestic workers, according to a joint report [text, PDF; press release] issued by three human rights organizations on Monday. The report was co-authored by Human Rights Watch (HRW), the International Domestic Workers' Network and the International Trade Union Confederation [advocacy websites]. In the press release accompanying the report, HRW senior women's right researcher Nisha Varia remarked that Middle Eastern countries have failed to abide by...
[JURIST] An appeals court in Kuwait on Monday affirmed a 10-year prison sentence against Hamad al-Naqi, a commentator on Twitter [media website] for posts deemed offensive to Islam, according to rights activist Nawaf al-Handel. Al-Naqi was originally sentenced [JURIST report] to 10 years in prison in June 2012 for posting insulting and defaming comments about the Prophet Muhammad [BBC backgrounder] and the Sunni Muslim [BBC backgrounder] rulers of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Al-Naqi claimed [AP report] that he did not...
[JURIST] US Ambassador to Spain, James Costos, was summoned [press release] by the Spanish Foreign Ministry [official website] Monday to discuss recent reports that the US National Security Agency (NSA) [official website] spied on more than 60 million phone calls made in Spain in the span of December 2012 to January 2013. The original report [El Mundo report, Spanish] was put out by Spanish newspaper El Mundo [media website, Spanish] and cites to documents it claims to have exclusive access...
[JURIST] A Bahrain appellate court on Sunday reduced the prison sentences of two police officers convicted of torturing and murdering a detainee after opposition protests in March 2011. The lower court sentenced the officers to seven years in prison in December, but the appellate court reportedly reduced the sentences [AFP report] to three years. The officers were convicted of killing Abdul Karim Fakhrawi, publisher and co-founder of Al Wasat Daily [media website], a news company that allegedly showed support for...
[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food [official website], Olivier De Schutter, on Friday praised the international community's collective adoption of laws, policies and strategies further entrenching the right to food over the past decade. De Schutter emphasized [press release] in his final report to the UN General Assembly that many nations have prioritized nutrition as a basic human right, leading to a "global right to food movement." De Schutter attributed the progress to the collaborative efforts of...
[JURIST] The top official for the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) [official website], Martin Kobler, on Saturday condemned [press release] a series of attacks perpetrated by the Mayi-Mayi Cheka [GlobalSecurity backgrounder], which resulted in the deaths of 34 civilians, including 20 children, in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) [UN materials; BBC backgrounder]. Kobler said of the attack, "these atrocities are unimaginable and are contradicting the values of...
[JURIST] The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar [official website], Tomas Ojea Quintana, warned [press release] on Friday that sectarian violence between the Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State [Economist backgrounder] is contributing to wider anti-Muslim sentiments in Myanmar, threatening the positive changes undertaken by the country in the past two years. While Quintana acknowledged that Myanmar's government has demonstrated willingness to address the situation, he expressed concern that discriminatory acts against Muslims remain...
[JURIST] An Egyptian court on Saturday threw out charges against former vice president Mohamed ElBaradei [Al Jazeera profile]. ElBaradei, who served as vice president in the government set up by the military, stepped down in protest of the violence directed at protesters. It was this abandonment of his post that gave rise to the charges of "betrayal of trust." The violence was in response to sit-ins calling for the reinstatement of Mohammed Morsi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. ElBaradei, who...
[JURIST] The lawyer for five Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] prisoners charged with plotting the September 11 attacks has asked President Barack Obama [official website] to declassify the CIA interrogation program that allegedly subjected prisoners to torture. The letter [text, PDF], made public on Friday, calls upon Obama to make the details of the CIA's rendition, detention and interrogation (RDI) program public. This program has been linked to certain interrogation techniques that have been said constitute torture. In the letter, the...
[JURIST] The Russian State Duma [official website] voted in favor [press release, in Russian] of strict new anti-terrorism legislation on Friday. The bill [legislative materials, in Russian] increases prison time for setting up a terrorist entity from 15 to 20 years in prison, and individuals convicted for participation in a terrorist group could now spend up to 10 years in prison. Additionally, the new bill allows the government to collect damages [AP report] from the relatives of the perpetrator of...
[JURIST] The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) [official website], acting in its capacity as conservator for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae [corporate websites], on Friday announced a $5.1 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase & Co. [corporate website]. The FHFA alleged [complaint, PDF] that JPMorgan misrepresented the quality of the sub-prime mortgages and mortgage securities sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which resulted in several billion dollars' worth of damages when the housing bubble collapsed in 2008. JPMorgan settled [press...

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