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] A nurse at the Guantanamo detention center [JURIST backgrounder] has refused to participate in the force feeding [press release] of hunger striking inmates, UK human rights group Reprieve [advocacy website] reported Tuesday. Word of the unidentified nurse's refusal came via a phone call from detainee Abu Wael Dhiab to his lawyer at Reprieve and was confirmed to the Miami Herald [report] by a Department of Defense (DOD) spokesperson, who declined to provide further details. According to Reprieve, this is...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Tuesday that the University of Texas at Austin (UT) may continue considering race as part of its admission criteria. The US Supreme Court [official website] had remanded the case [JURIST report], Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin [SCOTUSblog backgrounder], to the appeals court last year after finding that the court did not hold UT to the demanding burden of strict scrutiny articulated in Grutter...
[JURIST] A Pakistan court on Tuesday sentenced to death a man convicted of insulting the Prophet Mohammed in violation of the nation's blasphemy laws. Zulfiqar Ali was arrested in 2008 for writing blasphemous statements [DAWN.com report] against Islam on walls. Ali's lawyer argued that his client was mentally insane, emphasizing that Ali had been brought to the proceedings from the psychiatric ward of the jail. The judge, however found him to be mentally competent, and responsible for writing "abusive" statements...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Monday that Indiana must allow secular humanists to officiate at weddings, despite a state law [IC 31-11-6-1 text, PDF] that bars their participation. The court declared that the law unlawfully discriminates against nonreligious humanists who wish to have their marriage officiated by someone who shares their beliefs. Under the First Amendment [text, the court found, Indiana cannot disfavor a secular belief system while favoring other...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] on Monday reversed [opinion, PDF] a lower court ruling prohibiting the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles [official website] from issuing specialty license plates featuring the Confederate battle flag. The Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) [advocacy website], an organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of Confederate soldiers, appealed a US District Court for the Western District of Texas [official website] ruling [opinion, PDF] that the...
[JURIST] Texas lawmakers Senator John Cornyn (R) and Representative Henry Cuellar (D) introduced bipartisan legislation [press release] Tuesday that would change a current border protection law to allow the US government to more easily deport Central American minors that have crossed the US-Mexico border. The bill, referred to as the HUMANE Act [text, PDF], an acronym for Helping Unaccompanied Minors and Alleviating National Emergency would rewrite [WP report] the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 [text], which...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [official website] ruled [text, PDF] Monday against a coalition of five Great Lakes States seeking to compel the Army Corps of Engineers [official website] and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (District) to take action to prevent Asian carp [NWF backgrounder] from entering Lake Michigan through the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS). The suit brought by Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania sought to compel the Army Corps...
[JURIST] Civil liberties groups on Monday sued the UK's Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) [official website] known as MI6, alleging that the agency accesses data from undersea cables in violation of the rights to private life and freedom of expression. The case will be heard [AP report] by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal [official website]. The existence of the surveillance program, allegedly named TEMPORA, has not been confirmed by British officials. The emergency legislation [bill, PDF], passed last week, covers the collection...
[JURIST] Citigroup, Inc. on Monday agreed to pay $7 billion to settle a federal inquiry into mortgage-backed securities sold by the bank prior to the country's financial crisis. The deal, which involves one of the largest cash penalties [NYT report] ever paid to settle such allegations, includes [WSJ report] a $4 billion civil penalty to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] and $2.5 billion reserved for "consumer relief," with $180 million in financing to go towards building affordable...
[JURIST] The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters on Monday overturned a May decision that banned former leaders of the National Democratic Party (NDP) from running in the country's parliamentary elections. An Urgent Matters Court in May accused [AP report] the now-dissolved NDP of appointing corrupt governments, stating that allowing a political return for the former ruling party would bring danger to Egypt. The NDP was disbanded [AP report] and ordered to liquidate its assets by the Supreme Administrative Court in...
[JURIST] An Iranian court has sentenced eight Facebook [corporate website] page administrators to jail for terms between eight and 21 years, Iran's official news agency, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) [official website], reported on Sunday. The defendants were convicted [AP report] of plotting against national security, spreading propaganda against the ruling system and insulting officials, though the Facebook pages in question are unknown. The report states that the defendants were convicted in April. Facebook, as well as other popular...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] on Monday overturned two out of three convictions of Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman Al Bahlul [HRW profile; JURIST news archive], the media secretary of Osama Bin Laden [WP obituary; JURIST news archive]. The court vacated Bahlul's convictions for providing material support for terrorism and solicitation of others to commit war crimes but did not overturn his conviction for conspiracy to commit terrorism, remanding that issue to...
[JURIST] An Egyptian appeals court on Friday overturned the one-year jail sentence of previous Islamist president Mohamed Morsi's former prime minister Hisham Qandil. The decision was reported by Qandil's lawyer to Agence France Presse (AFP) [media website] in Cairo. Qandil was initially arrested trying to flee the country after Morsi was overthrown by the military last July. It is reported [ Al Arabiya news] that Qandil's lawyer has stated that the Egyptian appeals court decision was "a final acquittal" and...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit [official website] on Friday denied Utah's request to block legal recognition of about 1,300 same-sex weddings performed after the state's ban was briefly lifted in December. The request came in response to both the District Court for the District of Utah's ruling in December and the Tenth Circuit's decision in June to uphold [JURIST reports] the lifting of the same-sex marriage ban in Utah. The state of Utah argued [Reuters...
[JURIST] The Criminal Court of Paris [official website, in French] sentenced nine men to prison on Friday for belonging to terrorist groups and plotting attacks against France, in violation of France's terrorism law [text, in French]. Only two of the men were present for the hearing, the others being tried in absentia [Figaro report, in French]. All denied being fighters or having planned attacks.The men were sentenced to terms in prison [AP report] between two and nine years. Authorities across...
[JURIST] Iraqi security forces have extrajudicially executed at least 255 Sunni prisoners [press release], Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported Friday. HRW estimates that the executions are revenge for killings [JURIST report] committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) [BBC backgrounder], a Sunni extremist group. Many of the individuals were reportedly arrested under Article 4 [text, PDF] of Iraq's anti-terrorism law and had yet to face trial. HRW concluded its report by calling for an...
[JURIST] There is mounting evidence of abductions and violence against activists, protesters and journalists in eastern Ukraine over the last three months, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] reported [press release] Friday. The report, entitled Abductions and Torture in Eastern Ukraine [text, PDF], documents the findings of allegations of abduction and torture perpetrated by separatist armed groups and pro-Kyiv forces. The Ukrainian Ministry of Interior [official website] has reported nearly 500 cases of abductions between April and June 2014, though reliable...
[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] on Friday expressed [press release] alarm at the possible international human rights law violations as a result of the military operations that took place in Gaza on Thursday afternoon resulting in the deaths of 88 Palestinians. Israel's military operation "Protective Edge" began early last week, resulting in the killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, as well as the indiscriminate firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel. The Protective Edge...
[JURIST] A provincial court in Myanmar [BBC backgrounder] on Thursday sentenced four journalists and the chief executive from the Unity Journal [media website, in Burmese] to a 10-year prison sentence and hard labor for publishing a story in January in violation of the national State Secrets Act, a British colonial law dating back to the 1920s. The report alleged the Myanmar military had seized a sizable amount of land in the central Magwe region of the county for the purpose...
[JURIST] The public prosecutor's office of the government of Bahrain [official website] said Thursday that the country's most senior opposition leader and one of his aides will be charged for holding an illegal meeting with a US diplomat from the office of the US Secretary of State [official website]. The Bahraini nationals are Sheikh Ali Salman, the leader of the al-Wefaq party [GU Berkley Center backgrounder], and his political aide Khalil al-Marzouq. The US diplomat is Tom Malinowski, US Assistant...

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