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] Voters in Ireland on Saturday rejected a constitutional amendment that would have abolished the country's Senate [official website], dealing a defeat to Prime Minister Enda Kenny [official website]. Kenny had personally campaigned for the amendment [AP report], saying that the Senate was toothless, undemocratic and unnecessary in light of recent budget woes. Irish voters defeated the referendum [Irish Times report] by a margin of 51.8 percent to 48.2 percent. After the referendum was defeated, several Irish politicians, including Senator...
[JURIST] A team of disarmament experts from the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) [official website] on Sunday began overseeing the destruction [AFP report] by the Syrian government, and will verify that the process is correctly handled. The disarmament team will destroy the chemical weapons arsenal, its storage sites and the facilities which manufacture them in compliance with UN Security Council [official website] Resolution 2118 [PDF], which adopts and orders the Syrian government to comply...
[JURIST] California Governor Jerry Brown [official website] signed into law a collection of legislation centered on immigration [press release] on Saturday. AB 4, 35 and 1159 [materials] create limitations, restrictions, and obligations for those involved in immigration services and compliance intended to limit detention of undocumented immigrants and increase accessibility to applications for citizenship. AB 1024 allows applicants who are undocumented immigrants to be admitted to the California Bar as attorneys at law. SB 141 and 150 [materials] exempts undocumented...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Sunday alleged that the Algerian government has violated international and domestic law by impinging upon independent trade unions' rights to freely associate and collectively bargain. Algerian lawmakers adopted Law 90-14 in 1990, pursuant to which workers could establish independent unions after decades of restriction. The law requires new unions to send a declaration to the government announcing their establishment. The government is then required to deliver a notice of receipt 30 days...
[JURIST] US military special forces on Saturday captured Abu Anas al Libi, a suspected high-ranking operative of al Qaeda [JURIST news archive], during a raid conducted in Tripoli, Libya. US authorities allege [press release] that al Libi played a significant role in planning and executing the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which left more than 200 dead and 1000 injured. Al Libi is also suspected of working with al Qaeda to plot attacks on US forces...
[JURIST] On Friday, Judge Royce Lamberth for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] ordered the release of Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] prisoner Ibrahim Idris [DOD backgrounder], who suffers from a severe mental illness. Idris, originally from Sudan, was sent to Guantanamo more than 11 years ago after being captured with other Al Qaeda fighters trying to cross the Afghan border. Within weeks of his arrival, Idris was diagnosed with Disorganized Type Schizophrenia [USNLM backgrounder]. Since...
[JURIST] US President Barack Obama [official website] on Friday signed into law a bill [H.R. 3233 text] that grants special immigration status to Iraqis who have aided US forces. The original bill allowing Iraqis to apply for this status expired last week, but passage of H.R. 3233 extends the time of application to the first three months of fiscal year 2014. It allows for 2,000 more Iraqis to be approved for the status in addition to all applicants who were...
[JURIST] The Netherlands filed a complaint against Russia on Friday in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea [official website] alleging that the country has unlawfully detained Greenpeace [advocacy website] activists it apprehended from a Dutch-registered ship. Specifically, the Netherlands have challenged [Al Jazeera report] the manner in which the ship was apprehended and asked for the release of all of the 30 activists who were detained. Protesters gathered [Reuters report] in Russia on Saturday following the Netherlands'...
[JURIST] Provincial police in eastern Afghanistan reported that at least five civilians were killed Friday night in a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) [official website] airstrike near Jalalabad. NATO spokesman Lt. Col. William Griffin confirmed [AFP report] that Afghan and Coalition forces carried out a precision strike in Behsud district of Nangarhar province, but stated that it was a response to an attack by insurgents and that NATO's initial reports showed no civilian casualties. Afghan officials reported that the civilians...
[JURIST] A UN independent rights expert on Thursday expressed "deep concern" about the Sudanese government's detention of citizens [press release] and heavy media censorship. According to reports, at least 800 activists were arrested during a demonstration concerning the fuel subsidy cuts, which almost doubled the price [Guardian report] of gasoline in Sudan. The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mashood Adebayo Baderin, reported that, "Civilians have a right to assembly and peaceful demonstrations under international...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] on Thursday dismissed [order, PDF] a lawsuit challenging an Arizona law [HB 2443, PDF] punishing doctors for knowingly performing abortions based on the race or sex of the fetus. Plaintiffs contended that their constituents have not been seeking the abortions they desire based on this law, which they claim targets people based on race. Judge David Campbell granted Arizona's motion to dismiss for lack of...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called on Libya Friday to suspend the death sentences [press release] of Ahmed Ibrahim [JURIST report] and Walid Dabnoon, who were convicted of crimes related to the country's uprising [JURIST backgrounder] in June 2011. HRW contends that Ibrahim, a former official in the government of deposed president Muammar Gaddafi, and Dabnoon, a volunteer for pro-Gaddafi fighting forces during the clash with protesters, were denied the full benefits of due process during their trials,...
[JURIST] An Italian Senate [official website] panel on Friday voted in favor of expelling former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] from his seat in parliament. Berlusconi, who was was convicted [JURIST report] of tax fraud in 2012, chose not to appear to defend himself before the panel. The vote, which serves only as a recommendation to the Senate at large, was made by a cross-party committee of 23 Senators comprised heavily of Berlusconi's political opponents. The...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] reversed [opinion, PDF] a lower court ruling on Thursday, upholding five provisions of the modified Texas Election Code Section 13 [official website] covering volunteer deputy registrars (VDR's). Voting for America and Project Vote [advocacy website] were two of the four appellees that originally filed the lawsuit against Texas Secretary of State John Steen. According to the Texas Secretary of State [official website], a VDR is entrusted with officially...
[JURIST] California Governor Jerry Brown [official website] signed a bill [text] Thursday allowing immigrants who are in the country illegally to obtain driver's licenses in California. The physical licenses will carry a distinction [press release] stating the license may be used for driving but not as federal identification. Brown predicted California's endorsement of driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants will encourage [AP report] other states to enact similar measures. Most states prohibit such immigrants from obtaining driver's licenses, but a growing...
[JURIST] The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] on Thursday ordered [judgment] Russia to compensate former chess master turned political activist, Garry Kasparov [personal website, in Russian; JURIST news archive], for his unjustified arrest following a planned anti-government demonstration in Moscow in April 2007. According to an ECHR press release [text, PDF], the court found that the detention of Kasparov and eight fellow demonstrators violated two articles of the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF] providing for...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] on Thursday struck down [opinion, PDF] a state law that criminalizes retailers for imposing surcharges on customers who pay by credit card. Under Section 518 [text], a retailer may give a "discount" to customers paying with cash but cannot tell customers that a surcharge will be added to credit card purchases. The court held that this "virtually incomprehensible distinction between what a vendor...
[JURIST] The Spanish Provincial Court of Malaga convicted 53 people on Friday for money laundering, bribery and fraud, while 42 people were acquitted. The convicted [Diario ABC report, in Spanish] include town hall officials, lawyers and business representatives conducting business in the resort town Marbella. Former urban planning adviser Juan Antonio Roca received the harshest sentence of 11 years and a fine of €240 million (USD $320 million) for his alleged involvement in masterminding the widespread real estate and fraud...
[JURIST] The US Department of Justice [official website] filed papers Wednesday dropping opposition to the release of Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] prisoner Ibrahim Idris [DOD backgrounder]. The DOJ will not object to a judge issuing a release for Idris who has severe mental and physical illnesses and whose lawyers argue is not fit [JURIST report] to remain in Guantanamo. Idris served as both a fighter and doctor for al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and has been held for over 11 years....
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [official website] on Thursday held [opinion, PDF] that the International Trade Commission (ITC) [official website] erred in finding that Motorola Mobility, a branch of Google did not infringe a Microsoft [corporate websites] graphical interface patent. Microsoft originally filed a complaint in 2010 with the ITC against Motorola. Microsoft alleged that Motorola had violated section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, 19 USC § 1337 [text], by importing mobile phones...

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