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 Arkansas Supreme Court [official website] issued an unsigned order [text, PDF] Thursday declining to put on hold a ruling that overturned the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriages. The court however, ruled that the the circuit court's order had no effect on Ark. Code Ann. § 9-11-208(b) [AP report] and its prohibition against circuit and county clerks issuing same-sex marriage license, effectively preventing same-sex couples from obtaining marriage licenses in the state. Last week Judge Chris Piazza for...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] on Tuesday granted [decision, PDF] a stay of execution for a Texas inmate just hours before he was to be put to death in order to review his claim that he is mentally disabled. Robert James Campbell, a 41-year-old convicted rapist and murderer, was to be the first inmate executed in the US since a failed execution in Oklahoma last month brought a great deal of negative attention...
[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Monday launched a global anti-torture campaign, as it released a report [press release] summarizing the results of a global survey analyzing attitudes towards torture in 141 countries. The report found that 44 percent of the 21,000 people surveyed would not feel safe from torture if arrested in their home country. Brazil and Mexico showed the highest concern for torture if arrested at 80 percent and 64 percent, respectively. Australia and Britain showed the...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [official website] on Wednesday affirmed [judgment, PDF] without comment a US International Trade Commission (ITC) [official website] decision finding that Apple [corporate website] did not infringe [determination, PDF] upon Samsung Electronics [corporate website] patents. The ITC had previously found in June that Apple infringed on a separate Samsung patent, and issued a ban [JURIST report] on the importation of AT&T models of the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G and...
[JURIST] In a briefing to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda [official profile] said that Libya faces a deep political crisis and serious security challenges [press release], inhibiting its ability to rebuild itself as a modern democratic state. Bensouda expressed concern with criminal impunity in Libya, particularly the Libyan government's failure to address alleged crimes in Tawergha, whose residents have been targeted for revenge because of their perceived support of Muammar...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Idaho [official website] on Tuesday struck down [press release and opinion, PDF] Idaho's laws banning same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder]. Four same-sex couples filed the lawsuit [JURIST report] in November, challenging Idaho's prohibition on same-sex marriage and refusal to recognize same-sex marriages performed out of state. Citing the US Supreme Court's recent decision in US v. Windsor [JURIST report], Judge Candy Dale found that Idaho's laws violate the Fourteenth...
[JURIST] An Egyptian court on Wednesday ruled that a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood [party website; JURIST news archive] was not guilty of insulting the judiciary in comments he made to the press. Egypt's government charged Muslim Brotherhood leader Mahdi Akef [Middle East Monitor profile] with insulting the judiciary after he accused the judicial branch of corruption [AP report] in an interview with a Kuwaiti newspaper. Akef's arrest is part of a larger crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood following...
[JURIST] Police in the Pakistani province of Punjab on Tuesday filed charges of blasphemy [JURIST news archive] against 68 lawyers for protesting police actions. Last week several dozen lawyers, mostly from Pakistan's Shiite minority, staged a protest [NYT report] against a high-ranking police official for detaining and beating a lawyer following a disagreement. The blasphemy charges underscore more widespread tensions between Sunnis and Shiites in Pakistan that have resulted in religious and politically-motivated violence. It is not yet known when...
[JURIST] The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website], Fatou Bensouda [official profile], announced [press release] Tuesday that she will reopen a preliminary investigation into alleged mistreatment and killings of Iraqi detainees in Iraq by UK military forces from 2003 through 2008. Bensouda stated that her office received new information in January from two human rights organizations implicating UK officials in detainee abuse. The Rome Statute [text, PDF] of the ICC allows the prosecutor to "initiate investigations ......
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said [news release] on Tuesday that it has strong evidence the Syrian government used chemical weapons on three rebel-held towns in Northern Syria last month. The announcement reveals results of a two-week investigation [press release] by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) [official website] into the alleged chemical warfare. HRW asserts that evidence strongly indicates that the Syrian government dropped "barrel bombs" containing cylinders full of chlorine gas from helicopters...
[JURIST] The Court of Justice of the European Union [official website] ruled [judgment] on Tuesday that people can request that search engines remove links to certain websites containing their personal information. In an advisory judgment, the court held [AP report] that search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing [corporate websites] must sometimes comply with individuals' requests to web pages or newspapers with their personal information. The court emphasized that the so-called "right to be forgotten" is not absolute. When...
[JURIST] An Israeli trial court on Tuesday sentenced former prime minister Ehud Olmert [Knesset profile] to six years in prison for his role in a bribery scandal while serving as mayor of Jerusalem. The Tel Aviv District Court ruled [AP report] that Olmert was guilty of participating in a corrupt real estate deal in the 1990s involving the Holyland Towers housing project in Jerusalem, in which millions of dollars illegally changed hands. Ten other politicians and business leaders were sentenced...
[JURIST] Five same-sex couples on Monday challenged [complaint, PDF; press release, PDF] Alaska's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the District of Alaska [official website], contends that the amendment [Art. I §25], added to the Alaska Constitution in 1998, violates their due process and equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment [text] to the US Constitution. Four of the plaintiff couples are seeking recognition of their out-of-state same-sex marriages, and the fifth...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] released a report [report, PDF] on Monday finding that the use of fully autonomous weapons by militaries or law enforcement would be an affront to basic human rights and should be preemptively banned by international convention. The report, entitled "Shaking the Foundations: The Human Rights Implications of Killer Robots," was jointly authored [Al Jazeera report] by HRW and Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic [university website]. It questions the ability of autonomous...
[JURIST] The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] on Monday ordered [judgment] Turkey to pay €90 million (USD $123 million) to Cyprus for invading the island in 1974. Thirty million euros are to be paid [AP report] in damages to relatives of the missing, and €60 million have been allocated for residents of the Karpas peninsula. Speaking on the judgement, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stated the decision was not binding and that the ruling came at a...
[JURIST] The office of Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website] has declared that it does not wish to annex eastern Ukraine where "self-rule" referendums have overwhelmingly supported secession, but called on the Kiev government to open dialogue with the separatists. The referendums, organized by pro-Russian insurgents in Ukraine's Russian-speaking eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, claim a vote of about 90 percent in favor of forming their own sovereign nations. Separatist leaders have also expressed interest in joining the Russian...
[JURIST] The Indonesian Constitutional Court (MK) [official website, in Indonesian] on Monday established three panels to review disputes regarding the country's April 9 legislative elections. The MK and the General Elections Commission (KPU) [official website, in Indonesian] formed the panels [Antara News report] in expectation of challenges to the election results, announced [Reuters report] by the KPU on May 9, including accusations of electoral fraud. The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) [party website; in Indonesian], Indonesia's largest opposition party,...
[JURIST] The lawyer for the Pakistani doctor who helped the US find Osama bin Laden [JURIST news archive] said on Sunday that he would no longer represent him after receiving threats from militants. Lawyer Samiullah Khan Afridi told the Associated Press (AP) that he made the decision [AP report] after he received a "final" warning from militants. Afridi had been representing Dr. Shakil Afridi on humanitarian grounds but said that it is not possible for him to continue. "Now they...
[JURIST] Saif al-Islam Gaddafi [JURIST news archive], the son of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive], appeared via videolink at a court in Tripoli on Sunday. Saif al-Islam and 36 other defendants are facing a variety of charges including corruption and war crimes from their alleged role in suppressing the 2011 uprising [JURIST backgrounder]. At the trial, the defense team demanded access to all the evidence against Saif al-Islam and the other defendants. This case...
[JURIST] Israel's Ministerial Committee for Legislation [Haaretz backgrounder] approved a bill on Sunday that would allow Israel's courts to impose restrictions the president's ability to pardon murderers. The stated purpose of the bill [Haaretz report] is to prevent diplomatic overtures and "prisoner swapping," which is the exchange of hostages or prisoners by opposing sides of a conflict. The bill, which was approved 7-3, must now be approved by Knesset [official website] in order to become law. The bill will not...

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