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] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website; JURIST news archive] asserted [statement] on Wednesday that the Supreme Court of the Maldives [official website] has meddled excessively in the nation's presidential elections. Earlier this month the Supreme Court of the Maldives annulled results [JURIST report] from the first round of presidential elections and called for a new election, which was canceled after police intervened [AP report]. In her statement, Pillay criticized the court for allegedly depriving Maldivians...
[JURIST] Egyptian police on Wednesday arrested a senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], according to a source from Egypt's Interior Ministry. Essam el-Erian [JURIST news archive] had been on the run [AP report] since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi [BBC profile]. El-Erian, along with twelve other Muslim Brotherhood leaders, face charges of inciting violence [Reuters report] relating to the deaths of about a dozen people last December during a protest against Morsi. The...
[JURIST] The Oklahoma Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday ruled [opinion, PDF] that a 2011 state law restricting the use of chemical-abortions is unconstitutional, reaffirming the court's 2012 decision [JURIST report]. The law [HB 1970, text] imposes broad and stringent limitations on physicians when prescribing abortion-inducing medications to patients, and banned the prescription of "off-label" drugs known to have abortion-inducing effects, even when used to treat exotic pregnancies. The court, in answering questions requested by the US Supreme Court [official...
[JURIST] Bangladeshi authorities should order a retrial of military personnel involved in the 2009 Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) mutiny due to alleged violations of international fair trial standards, said Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] in a statement [press release] released Tuesday. According to the advocacy group, the suspects have been subjected to torture, including beatings and electrical shocks, and at least 47 of them have died in custody. HRW claims that, although the prosecution has stated they will not use...
[JURIST] The appeals chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Tuesday dismissed [judgment, PDF] the application for interim release by former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile]. The pre-trial chamber has kept Gbagbo in detention since December 2011, despite his numerous applications for release [text, PDF]. The ICC had dismissed his prior appeals, and "where no changed circumstances are found to exist, the chamber is not required to further review the ruling on release or detention."...
[JURIST] The Brazilian Regional Federal Court for the First Region (TRF1) [official website, in Portuguese] on Tuesday suspended [press release, in Portuguese] construction on the Belo Monte Dam in Brazil's Amazon rain forest on grounds that environmental commitments have not been met. The decision is summarized in a statement on the court's website, detailing Judge Antonio Souza Prudente's suspension of the project's environmental license in addition to the suspension of construction. The decision also imposes a fine of R$500,000 for...
[JURIST] Dinh Nhat Uy on Tuesday received a sentence of 15 months of house arrest from a Vietnamese court for abusing his freedom after he campaigned online via Facebook [official website] to release his brother, who was convicted and jailed in May for criticizing the government policies on land ownership, religion and sovereignty disputes with China. Dihn Nhat Uy was convicted [Reuters report] under Vietnam's penal code Article 258 [text], which states that people who abuse the rights of freedoms...
[JURIST] Argentina's Supreme Court [official website, in Spanish] ruled Tuesday that clauses of an anti-monopoly law that will dismantle media conglomerate Grupo Clarin SA (GCLA) [official website] are constitutional. The court upheld [Reuters report] Law 26.522 [text, in Spanish], also known as the "Audiovisual Media Law," ruling [AP report] that it was within the bounds of the constitution, forcing Clarin to sell off some of its assets. The ruling also indicates that the government should compensate license owners for the...
[JURIST] Independent UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Margaret Sekaggya [official profile] on Tuesday emphasized the need for transparency and equality [press release] in large-scale construction projects that alter the environment of citizens in developing nations. Human rights defenders working on behalf of native communities have reportedly faced harsh criticism and threats of violence for their work to defend citizens' interests before and during the construction of large-scale industrial projects. The human rights defenders have been...
[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...

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