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 European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] on Thursday ordered [judgment] Russia to compensate former chess master turned political activist, Garry Kasparov [personal website, in Russian; JURIST news archive], for his unjustified arrest following a planned anti-government demonstration in Moscow in April 2007. According to an ECHR press release [text, PDF], the court found that the detention of Kasparov and eight fellow demonstrators violated two articles of the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF] providing for...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] on Thursday struck down [opinion, PDF] a state law that criminalizes retailers for imposing surcharges on customers who pay by credit card. Under Section 518 [text], a retailer may give a "discount" to customers paying with cash but cannot tell customers that a surcharge will be added to credit card purchases. The court held that this "virtually incomprehensible distinction between what a vendor...
[JURIST] The Spanish Provincial Court of Malaga convicted 53 people on Friday for money laundering, bribery and fraud, while 42 people were acquitted. The convicted [Diario ABC report, in Spanish] include town hall officials, lawyers and business representatives conducting business in the resort town Marbella. Former urban planning adviser Juan Antonio Roca received the harshest sentence of 11 years and a fine of €240 million (USD $320 million) for his alleged involvement in masterminding the widespread real estate and fraud...
[JURIST] The US Department of Justice [official website] filed papers Wednesday dropping opposition to the release of Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] prisoner Ibrahim Idris [DOD backgrounder]. The DOJ will not object to a judge issuing a release for Idris who has severe mental and physical illnesses and whose lawyers argue is not fit [JURIST report] to remain in Guantanamo. Idris served as both a fighter and doctor for al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and has been held for over 11 years....
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [official website] on Thursday held [opinion, PDF] that the International Trade Commission (ITC) [official website] erred in finding that Motorola Mobility, a branch of Google did not infringe a Microsoft [corporate websites] graphical interface patent. Microsoft originally filed a complaint in 2010 with the ITC against Motorola. Microsoft alleged that Motorola had violated section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, 19 USC § 1337 [text], by importing mobile phones...
[JURIST] Amnesty International [advocacy website] released a report [text, PDF] on Wednesday accusing Turkish authorities of committing human rights violations during the government's attempt to quell protests in Gezi Park in Istanbul this summer. According to the advocacy group, the authorities repeatedly showed total intolerance for any form of protest, however passive. Witness testimony and photographic evidence provide documentation of protestor beatings and sexual assault at the hands of police, as well as the misuse of chemical irritants, such as...
[JURIST] The UK spy agency GCHQ [official website] is facing a legal challenge [press release] in the European Human Rights Court (ECHR) [official websites] to its online surveillance programs. Claims [text, PDF] filed in the ECHR on Thursday allege that the massive programs, which are able to read the content of e-mails and social media messages, have breached the privacy of tens of millions of people [Guardian report] across the UK and Europe. The claims stem from revelations by Edward...
[JURIST] The government of Pakistan [official website] decided on Thursday not to reinstate the death penalty. There had been a moratorium on the death penalty since 2008, but the ban ended on June 30. More than 8,000 prisoners are on death row, and two militants were scheduled to be executed [Reuters report] in August. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif [BBC profile] had planned to reinstate the death penalty [Death Penalty Worldwide backgrounder] in an attempt to crack down on militants and...
[JURIST] California Governor Jerry Brown [official website] on Tuesday signed into law a bill [text] that prohibits state employees and agencies, as well as law enforcement and the California National Guard, from providing support for the indefinite detention of a person within California. Specifically, the law states that those individuals or bodies shall not participate in any investigation or detainment authorized by either the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA) [text, PDF] or Authorization for Use of Military Force...
[JURIST] Malaysia's proposed amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 [text, PDF], which would reinstate detention without trial for certain individuals with criminal histories, are a "huge step backwards," Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said [press release] Wednesday. HRW said that the amendments would allow detention for up to two years without trial if authorities find that the person has committed at least two serious offenses, regardless of whether he or she was actually ever convicted, so long...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday began a campaign [advocacy websites] for the tens of thousands of political activists that they claim are being detained in Syria for their peaceful activity. "Lost in Syria's Black Hole" tells the story of Syrian individuals who have been detained since the start of the Syrian Civil War [JURIST backgrounder] in 2011. Each individual has reportedly either been detained for exercising a right [news release] to free expression and peaceful assembly, or for...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] on Wednesday reversed [opinion, PDF] a district court ruling that interpreted a settlement agreement [JURIST report] between BP and the class of parties injured in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill [JURIST news archive] in a way that permitted recovery for artificial and inflated claims. The appeals court applied fundamental accounting principles in its reasoning:The difficulty is that subtracting temporally-related revenues and expenses recorded by cash-basis claimants would not...
[JURIST] The Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Wednesday arrested the chief justice of the country's constitutional court for allegedly accepting over USD $250,000 in bribes. Akil Mochtar was elected as chief justice for a five-year term which began in August, and the money confiscated from Mochtar's house was said to be possibly linked to a disputed election [Reuters report] within the country. The constitutional court is responsible for final determinations on issues involving elections and institutions within the country,...
[JURIST] A French court on Wednesday held that ID checks are legal under French law and are not discriminatory. The case was brought [AP report] by 13 individuals from minority groups who were subject to ID checks, requesting €10,000 (USD $13,000) in compensation for each. In addition, they sought to amend the law to require written reports for ID checks that would provide legitimate reasons. The proposal to require written reports was rejected in the past, but there is a...
[JURIST] Three Texas death row inmates on Tuesday filed a lawsuit alleging that the state plans to use new types of drugs in their execution. The complaint claims that Texas has obtained [Reuters report] propofol, midzolam and hydromorphone from manufacturers by pretending to be a hospital. Thus, the drugs would not have been delivered if manufacturers knew that they would be used for executions. The three plaintiffs alleged that the drugs would create pain and that Texas prison officials are...
[JURIST] The Singapore Supreme Court [official website] on Wednesday again rejected a challenge [case summary, PDF] to an anti-gay law [Section 377A] criminalizing sexual conduct between men. This section outlaws any kind of sexual conduct between men, both in public and private. Those found guilty under the law can be up to two years imprisonment. Enacted in 1938, the law has not been enforced against those in private. Only recently has the law been used by those pushing for social...
[JURIST] A federal judge on Tuesday rejected constitutional challenges against a new Maryland firearm law that went into effect the same day. The Firearm Safety Act of 2013 [SB 281, PDF] limits certain assault weapons and removable magazines and requires safety training and fingerprint for potential buyers. While the recent ruling rejected the challenges, plaintiffs are still allowed to continue [Reuters report] their cases. In September, several residents, gun store owners and gun rights advocates filed [JURIST report] two lawsuits...
[JURIST] A military judge on Tuesday refused to suspend the pretrial hearings in a case against five Guantanamo Bay prisoners related to the 9/11 [JURIST backgrounders] terrorist attack. Army Col. James Pohl [Miami Herald backgrounder; JURIST news archive] reasoned that the measures taken to respond to the defendants' concerns were adequate [AP report] to continue the hearings. The defense team claimed [JURIST report] that the government's computer network was not secure. The lawyers alleged that confidential data, e-mails and private...
[JURIST] Montgomery County Register of Wills [official website] D. Bruce Hanes on Tuesday appealed a lower court order [text] to cease issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court [official website]. Hanes, who began granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples following Attorney General Kathleen Kane's [official website] statement that United States v. Windsor [JURIST reports] ruling left the Pennsylvania Marriage Law [text] unconstitutional. In his appeal, Hanes argues the lower court lacked proper jurisdiction to issue the...
[JURIST] A Vietnamese court on Wednesday sentenced prominent dissident Le Quoc Quan [HRW backgrounder] to 30 months in prison for tax evasion. Quan's imprisonment sparked outrage [AFP report] from hundreds of protesters who believe the verdict was politically motivated and part of a widespread government crackdown on dissent. Quan, a lawyer and blogger, has been a vocal critic of Vietnam's communist government [BBC report] and has written extensively about alleged human rights abuses, religious suppression and political censorship in Vietnam....

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