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 Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) [official website], China's top legislature, passed a resolution Saturday abolishing the country's penal labor system. The "re-education through labor" system was put in place [AP report] during the 1950's and has allowed the Chinese police to send anyone to prison for up to four years without a trial. The decision to reform the much-criticized penal system was initially reached in November during the Third Plenum of the Chinese Communist Party...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Saturday urged [press release] the Egyptian government to reverse its decision to label the Muslim Brotherhood [party website, JURIST news archive] as a terrorist organization, calling the label politically driven. The declaration [JURIST report], made by the country's interim government on Wednesday, makes the group subject to Article 86 of the Egyptian penal code [text, PDF] which defines both terrorism and the penalties for it. The punishment for membership in a terrorist...
[JURIST] A Turkish court ruled on Friday that the police-judiciary body attempting to root out government corruption did not have to disclose their investigations to the government. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [BBC profile] attempted to force these disclosures in order to reign in the power that police are currently able to exercise in the course of these investigations. The ruling comes amid growing controversy that has forced high level officials, including members of Erdogan's cabinet, to resign. It also...
[JURIST] Iraqi police arrested Ahmed al-Awlani, an MP and prominent Sunni supporter of anti-government protests, on Saturday in the city of Ramadi. Awlani, a member of the Sunni supported Iraqiya bloc was reportedly wanted on terrorism charges [BBC report] along with his brother, Ali. Ali and five bodyguards were killed in the police raid, and 18 others were wounded. Awlani has been a strong supporter of a group of protestors who have camped on a highway outside Ramadi in order...
[JURIST] The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) [official website], China's top legislature, passed a resolution Saturday easing the countries one-child population control policy. The major policy change is expected to be implemented [Xinhua report] gradually with the NPC entrusting provincial congresses and their standing committees to make their own decisions on implementation based on demographic conditions in their provinces. The one-child policy [TIME backgrounder] was adopted by China in 1979 to curb rapid population growth in the...
[JURIST] The government of South Sudan [official website] on Friday offered to immediately cease fighting with the rebels, but warned that its forces would not hesitate to defend themselves in the event of an attack. Violence began after ethnic Dinka, loyal to President Salva Kiir [BBC profile], and Nuer soldiers, following former vice president Riek Machar [Al Arabya profile], clashed on December 15. The government, led by President Kiir, met at a summit in Nairobi [JURIST report] on Thursday to...
[JURIST] A federal judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] ruled [text, PDF] on Friday that the National Security Agency's (NSA) [official website] PRISM [JURIST backgrounder] program, which includes massive collection of American citizens' telephone records, is legal. Judge William H. Pauley III ruled that the program was permitted under Section 215 of the Patriot Act and the Fourth Amendment [LII backgrounders] because it served a legitimate, useful purpose. The opinion observed...
[JURIST] The Pennsylvania Superior Court [official website] on Thursday unanimously reversed [opinion, PDF] the conviction of a priest for his failure to protect children from a sexual predator and ordered he be released from prison. Monsignor William Lynn, the first senior US Roman Catholic Church official to be found guilty for covering up child sex abuse by a priest, was originally sentenced to three-to-six years in prison in 2012. Lynn was convicted for endangering the welfare of children (EWOC) pursuant...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Thursday urged [press release] the Chinese government to drop all politically motivated charges against Xu Zhiyong [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] and release the rights activist from prison. Xu, a prominent critic of China's one-party system and founder of the nongovernmental New Citizen's Movement [WSJ backgrounder], was arrested in April and faces five years in prison for organizing a series of small-scale protests to disrupt public order. HRW Asia Director Brad Adams...
[JURIST] African leaders met Thursday in South Sudan for closed-door talks [BBC report] about ending the fighting that began in the country earlier this month. Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta [official website] and Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn met with South Sudan President Salva Kiir [BBC profile] in the capital city of Juba with a focus on ending the armed conflict that has now spread to half the country. The violence began after ethnic Dinka, loyal to President Kiir, and Nuer...
[JURIST] Thailand's government on Thursday rejected calls to postpone the upcoming February elections despite violent protests that have left a police officer dead and nearly 100 people injured. The Election Commission of Thailand [official website, in Thai] made the request [PDF, in Thai] over fears for the safety of candidates on the campaign trail after anti-government protesters, who want the government to be replaced with an unelected "people's council," attempted to break into a Bangkok stadium where candidates were being...
[JURIST] Egypt's interim government on Wednesday officially declared the Muslim Brotherhood [party website, JURIST news archive] a terrorist group following the bombing of a police station [Al Jazeera report] earlier this week that killed 16 people. The official label [Reuters report] allows the government to prosecute any member of the party, including anyone giving money to the party. The announcement, which sparked protests and demonstrations across the country, came in spite of the fact that Ansar Jerusalem, a jihadist group...
[JURIST] Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [BBC profile] on Wednesday named ten new members of his cabinet following the resignation of three members under investigation for graft. Nine of the ten new cabinet ministers are members of the ruling party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) [party website]. Erdogan picked [Al Jazeera report] his undersecretary, an unelected official, to run the Interior Ministry. The cabinet shuffle appears to have been prompted by the growing corruption scandal. There is no...
[JURIST] Uruguayan President Jose Mujica [official profile, in Spanish] has signed into law a controversial plan to oversee the production and sale of marijuana in Uruguay. The Uruguayan Senate passed the measure [JURIST report] to legalize the production, sale and consumption of marijuana earlier this month. The bill makes Uruguay the first country to have a system that regulates marijuana production and sale, as the use of cannabis was already legal in Uruguay. The bill allows [AFP report] individuals over...
[JURIST] US District Judge Carl Barbier for the US District Court Eastern District of Louisiana [official website] ruled [order, PDF] on Tuesday that BP [corporate website] could not require businesses to provide proof their economic losses were directly caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill [JURIST news archive] under the terms of their prior settlement agreement. Under the $9.2 billion settlement, BP had agreed that businesses in certain geographical regions were presumed to have economic losses from the oil...
[JURIST] The US government on Monday deployed 150 US military personnel to a base in Djibouti in preparation for a possible evacuation of US citizens in response to escalating violence and political discord within South Sudan. The deployment follows [Reuters report] a failed evacuation attempt in which four US soldiers were wounded by gunfire. Over 300 US officials and citizens have been evacuated. The conflict is the newest wave of violence to sweep the nation and has been described as...
[JURIST] A Chilean judge found eight former members of the military guilty of murder on Monday for their roles in killings perpetrated during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet [BBC profile]. The men were members of the "Caravan of Death," a military operation involved [BBC report] in the suppression of political opponents during the 1973 coup that brought Pinochet to power. The Caravan of Death [BBC backgrounder] was responsible for the deaths of nearly 100 people between September and October of...
[JURIST] Greenpeace International [advocacy website] announced on Tuesday that Russian authorities dropped criminal charges against the first of 30 people accused of taking part in a Greenpeace protest in the Arctic. The 30 jailed activists were accused of hooliganism after they staged a protest on an Arctic oil rig in September. Their release [BBC report] follows the passage of sweeping amnesty laws [414081-6, 414076-6, 414060-6, 414142-6, texts, PDF, in Russian] last week that are expected to bring the release of...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] on Monday that Ohio must recognize valid out-of-state marriages between same-sex couples on Ohio death certificates. The order also extends to marriages not authorized or validly performed under Ohio law, such as marriages between first cousins, marriages of certain minors and common law marriages. The court stated that by treating lawful same-sex marriages differently than it treats lawful opposite sex marriages,...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website], in a letter [text] sent on Friday, called on Ukrainian authorities to end intimidation tactics against those allegedly the victim of police violence. The letter detailed concerns surrounding the treatment of two groups of protesters. The groups were protesting on November 30 at Independence Square and December 1 on Bankova Street to protest President Viktor Yanukovich's [official website; BBC profile] decision to abandon the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement [EU backgrounder]. Both groups of protesters...

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