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 US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday denied [order list, PDF] the petition for certiorari in a case challenging the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) [backgrounder] April order [text] requiring Verizon [corporate website] to turn over data to the National Security Agency (NSA) [official website] including US telephone calls and Internet exchanges. The case, brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) [advocacy website] questioned [mandamus petition; PDF]whether the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court exceeded its narrow statutory authority...
[JURIST] Pakistan officials on Monday filed a request with the nation's Supreme Court [official website], asking the court to start treason proceedings against former president Pervez Musharraf [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The government contends [Reuters report] that Musharraf committed treason by suspending the constitution and imposed emergency rule in 2007. Musharraf was ousted from power [CSM report] in 2008 and has faced several criminal charges, including allegedly assassinating former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. If convicted, Musharraf faces a possible...
[JURIST] A Russian court on Monday refused to release one of 30 activists [profiles] for Greenpeace International [advocacy website] who were detained in September while trying to board an oil rig. Russian authorities arrested the Greenpeace activists in September for attempting to scale an oil platform owned by a Russian energy company and charged the activists with hoolaginsim [AP report]. The activists face up to seven years in prison if convicted. In a press release [text], Greenpeace stated that they...
[JURIST] The US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] on Friday announced that media entities and other would-be observers will not be allowed to sit in on the first session of the Periodic Review Board (PRB), a parole-style hearing process for detainees held at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder]. In 2011 US President Barack Obama [official website] issued an executive order [text; fact sheet] establishing the PRB process, which empowers authorities to review whether continued detention of certain detainees held at...
[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] on Saturday urged [official statement] Nepalese authorities to conclude the forthcoming Constituent Assembly [official website] elections peacefully with a view toward drafting a new constitution. Political and social discord have plagued Nepal since the nation's 2006 civil war abolished the monarchy. The first Constituent Assembly failed in its efforts to draft a new constitution before its dissolution in May 2012. Ki-moon expressed disappointment [JURIST report] over the failure and worried that the country...
[JURIST] The Israeli Cabinet [official website] on Sunday adopted an amendment to the Law for the Prevention of Infiltration [text, PDF], permitting the state to detain undocumented immigrants for up to one year. The amendment is a direct response to an earlier ruling [JURIST report] of the Supreme Court of Israel [official website] holding that the 2012 amendment to the Law for the Prevention of Infiltration, which allowed police forces to arrest undocumented immigrants and detain them for up to...
[JURIST] UK Prime Minister David Cameron [official website] demanded [statement] that the Sri Lankan government conduct its own investigation into allegations of war crimes committed during the 26-year civil war [JURIST news archive] with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) [CFR backgrounder]. Cameron emphasized the need for reconciliation and justice. He also reiterated the March 2014 deadline put forward by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website]. Should the government fail to meet this deadline, Cameron...
[JURIST] The US House of Representatives [official website] passed a measure [legislative materials] on Friday which would allow insurance companies to continue selling limited-coverage policies. Insurance companies have canceled and refused to renew a number of these policies because they do not meet the minimum coverage required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [text; JURIST backgrounder], which took effect October 1. The bill, which passed 261 to 157, is unlikely to pass the Senate [Reuters report], and...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] and Seton Hall University School of Law [academic website] released a report [text, PDF] on Tuesday examining the hardships created by the US asylum program. According to the Immigration Nationality Act (INA) [text] and Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act [text], asylum seekers are not entitled to employment authorization. In addition, these individuals are also not entitled to any public benefits. The report points out that the US is the only developed...
[JURIST] President Barack Obama [official website] issued a memorandum [text, PDF] on Friday giving US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) [official website] the authority to "parole in place" the children, spouses and parents of active duty members of the armed forces, the selected reserve of the ready reserve and former members thereof. The American Bar Association [official website] describes parole in place [materials, PDF] as a process by which USCIS assists family members of US military personnel to become eligible...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania [official website] denied two motions Friday seeking to dismiss a lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage. The challenge was brought [WP report] by the secretaries of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Department of Revenue and the Bucks County register of wills [official websites]. Judge John Jones III will meet with the attorneys involved in the case November 22 to set a date for trial....
[JURIST] The Communist Party of China (CPC) will loosen the nations one-child population control policy, according to documents released following the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee [Xinhua materials] held in Beijing earlier this week. The policy will allow [BBC report] families where one parent is an only child to have two children. The one-child policy [TIME backgrounder] was adopted by China in 1979 to curb rapid population growth in the nation. According to the Chinese state...
[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur Juan Mendez [official profile] on Thursday expressed concern [press release] over the conditions in Ghana [UN backgrounder] prisons. After visiting several prisons around the country, reviewing studies, and speaking with prison employees and inmates, Mendez concluded that the state of prisons in the country amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The majority of the poor conditions reportedly stem from Ghana's prison-overcrowding problem. While authorities have stated that the official statewide capacity-to-population ratio is 140 percent,...
[JURIST] A Hawaii Circuit Court judge on Thursday upheld the state's recently enacted same-sex marriage law [text, PDF] despite a challenge from opponents who argue the state's Constitution [text] prohibits it. The new law, which will take effect December 2 and make Hawaii the fifteenth US state to legalize same-sex marriage, was signed [JURIST report] by Hawaiian Governor Neil Abercrombie [official website] on Wednesday. After hearing oral arguments from both sides, Judge Karl Sakamoto refused to enjoin the law's implementation...
[JURIST] The Spanish National Court [official website, in Spanish] on Thursday ordered the release of 13 members of the Basque separatist group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive] in compliance with a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] ruling [judgment; press release, PDF] made last month. In its ruling, the ECHR determined that Ines del Rio Prada "served a longer term of imprisonment than she should have served under the Spanish legal system in operation...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court Eastern District of Virginia [official website] on Friday sentenced Somali pirates Abukar Osman Beyle and Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar to 21 life sentences for their role in the killing of four Americans aboard a yacht off the Horn of Africa in February 2011. Fourteen of the 19 people who participated in the attack have now been sentenced [Reuters report] to life sentences [JURIST report] after pleading guilty. The victims—Scott Adam, Jean Adam,...
[JURIST] The Scottish Parliament [official website] unanimously approved a bill [legislative materials] on Thursday to hold a Scottish independence referendum. The bill outlines the referendum rules [text, PDF]. Both independence opponents and supporters in parliament supported the bill, which will permit a 16-week campaign period and impose financial limits on campaigners to create a level playing field. The vote will be overseen by the Electoral Commission [official website] and will be directed by a chief counting officer. The UK government...
[JURIST] International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website; JURIST backgrounder] Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda [official profile] on Thursday urged [statement] the government of Libya to address serious crimes committed in the country and encouraged the international community to end the impunity gap in Libya. Bensouda welcomed gains in Libya's legal system that would eliminate rape but voiced concern for detainees in the country. She stated:Libya has come a long way since the 2011 uprising, which paved the way for the Libyan...
[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Wednesday urged [press release] the UN Security Council not to defer the International Criminal Court (ICC) trial [materials] of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta despite mounting political pressure. A draft resolution seeking the deferral was circulated earlier this month by Rwanda, a Security Council member, and will be put to a vote on Friday. In response to the call from the African Union (AU) [official website] to suspend the trial of Kenyatta in view...
[JURIST] Former German president Christian Wulff [official profile] went on trial Thursday in Hanover, denying allegations of corruption. In court, Wulff delivered a statement, insisting [AP report, video] that he acted without fault. Prosecutors charged Wulff with corruption stemming from his 2008 visit to the Munich Oktoberfest beer festival during which prosecutors allege he accepted some €700 for a hotel stay and meals. State prosecutors allege [JURIST report] that film producer David Groenewold, who was seeking financial support for a...

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