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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The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called [press release] for Turkey to lift its state of emergency restrictions Wednesday in order to hold credible elections it has planned next month. Turkey renewed its state of emergency for the seventh time on April 19 since it first did in June 2016, suspending several articles of its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including ones that include freedoms of expression, assembly, association and...
Twenty-two "Dreamers" filed a request Tuesday to intervene [motion, PDF] in a lawsuit filed last week in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas [official website] between seven states and the US government regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA). The individuals argue that because both sides of the suit want to end the DACA program, the interests of the 22 are not adequately represented. In the lawsuit [complaint, PDF] filed last Tuesday, the Attorneys...
London's Metropolitan Police Gangs Violence Matrix discriminates based on race and violates individuals' privacy, according to an Amnesty International UK [advocacy website] report published Wednesday, titled Trapped in the Matrix [text, PDF]. The Gangs Matrix labels individuals as red, amber or green based on their "propensity for violence." The label assigned to individuals is partially based on information gathered through monitoring the individuals' social media. The matrix includes 3,806 individuals as of October 2017. As of 2016, 35 percent of...
Members of the Pakistan National Assembly voted to pass the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act [text, PDF] Tuesday, establishing transgender individuals as a protected class. The law's purpose is "to provide for protection, relief, and rehabilitation of rights of the transgender persons and their welfare." The new law recognizes a person's gender identity, prohibits discrimination and harassment in education, hiring and employment, and transportation, protects transgender persons' rights to inherit property, vote, and receive healthcare, and obligates the government...
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein [official website] on Thursday called for a reduction in violence [press release] in the Central African Republic (CAR), which has seen an increase along religious lines in recent days. Violence started on May 1 when a group known as Force attacked a church, killing 22 and wounding 185 after the government tried to arrest one of their leaders. Christian groups then responded by killing three Muslim individuals with further attacks...
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced [press release] Tuesday that a former CIA officer has been charged with unauthorized possession of classified material and conspiracy to commit espionage. In the indictment by a federal grand jury in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website], Jerry Chun Shing Lee is believed to have helped Chinese intelligence dismantle a spy network from the US, which led to the imprisonment and death of informants. In...
The US House of Representatives voted [roll call] 234-175 on Tuesday to overturn a rule [text] implemented to prevent discrimination in auto lending. Implemented in 2013 by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFRB) [official website], the rule ensures that auto lenders cannot charge higher fees to borrowers based on race, national original or credit score. Republican lawmakers have invoked the Congressional Review Act [text] that allows Congress to get rid of regulations shortly after they are imposed. The Senate voted...
US President Donald Trump announced [press release] Tuesday that the US will be withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The JCPOA was reached [JURIST report] in 2015, which lifted economic sanctions off Iran in exchange for agreeing not to create a nuclear bomb. The statement from the White House re-imposes all US sanctions lifted or waived in connection with the JCPOA, including the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996,...
The top court in Equatorial Guinea on Monday upheld [decision] a 30-year sentence for 21 activists of the Citizens for Innovation party on charges of "sedition, public disorder, attacks on authority and serious bodily harm." The ruling also upheld the dissolution of the Citizens for Innovation party, the main opposing party in Equatorial Guinea. The court upheld the ban and sentencing for the Citizens for Innovation party members because their actions were believed to cause serious public disorder and damages...
The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] on Monday blocked [opinion, PDF] a lawsuit [JURIST report] against Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby [official website] for malicious prosecution, defamation and false light over Mosby's prosecution of officers in the Freddie Gray case [JURIST report]. The appeals court reviewed Mosby's assertion of absolute prosecutorial immunity for the charges of malicious prosecution under 42 USC § 1983 [text]. The appeals court found that Mosby's actions were part of...
Sun Zhengcai, former member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China and former Secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Committee, was sentenced[press release] to life in prison on Tuesday for taking bribes. The First Intermediate People's Court of Tianjin [official website] found Sun guilty of using his position to help certain individuals and organizations with business operations accepting bribes that totaled 170 million yuan or about $26.7 million. At trial he pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced...
Israel Supreme Court President Justice Esther Hayut at a swearing-in ceremony for 18 newly appointed judges at the president's residence on Monday expressed serious concerns [inaugural address, in Hebrew] about a bill approved on Sunday by the Knesset's [official website, in Hebrew] Ministerial Committee on Legislation, which she termed a "blatant and unprecedented attack" on the nation's judiciary. Hayut stated that the bill effectively gutted the Basic Law of Human Dignity and Liberty [text], enacted by the Knesset approximately 25...
UN human rights experts on Monday urged [press release] Poland to ensure "free and full participation" at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) expressing serious concerns over the impact of the nation's newly enacted safety and security legislation on rights to privacy, peaceful assembly, and participation. The legislation in question, titled Bill on Specific Solutions Related to the Organization of Sessions of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in the...
Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] released a report [PDF] on Monday detailing new research that reveals individuals who are detained on politically-motivated charges in Egypt are being held in conditions that amount to torture. AI's report, "Crushing humanity: the abuse of solitary confinement in Egypt's prisons," details the various abuses carried out in 24 documented cases of prisoners whose duration of confinement lasted between "three weeks to over four years." Prolonged solitary confinement is defined by the Nelson Mandela Rules...
Egypt's chief prosecutor on Monday referred 555 individuals suspected of joining a local affiliate of the Islamic State (IS) [JURIST backgrounder] group to military court. The charges against them arise out of a series of attacks [AP report] carried out by dozens of small militant groups situated in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula. The suspects will faces charges for the planned and executed killings of security personnel, attacks on military checkpoints and the destruction of a gas pipeline...
Here's the international legal news we covered this week: A UN human rights expert called for "calm and for all sides to exercise restraint" in the Central African Republic (CAR) Thursday, according to a UN statement [press release]. [more] The Department of Defense on Wednesday announced the transfer [text] of Guantanamo detainee Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Haza al Darb to Saudi Arabia. [more] The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, on Monday expressed concern [press...
Here's the domestic legal news we covered this week: The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Thursday unsealed an indictment [charges, PDF] against former Volkswagen (VW) [corporate website] CEO and chairman of the management board Martin Winterkorn on charges of fraud and conspiracy arising from the company's diesel emission-cheating scandal. The charges, which were filed on March 14 in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan [official website] by a federal grand jury, include four...
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds [official website] on Friday signed [press release] Senate File 359 [text, PDF], a bill containing the nation's most restrictive abortion ban, into law after the bill's approval in the state legislature [JURIST report] on Wednesday. Known as the "heartbeat" bill, the law prohibits physicians from performing abortions upon the detection of a heartbeat, which can occur as early six weeks of the gestation period. More specifically, except in the case of medical emergencies, the bill prohibits...
The Brazil Supreme Federal Court on Wednesday unanimously ruled [press release, in Portuguese] to limit the immunity from local prosecution granted to federal lawmakers in the country. Earlier, members of the Brazil National Congress [official website, in Portuguese] could only be tried in the Supreme Court regardless of whether or not an individual's alleged crime occurred before he or she became a member of the legislature. With this ruling, federal lawmakers can now be tried in lower level courts for...
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Thursday unsealed an indictment [charges, PDF] against former Volkswagen (VW) [corporate website] CEO and chairman of the management board Martin Winterkorn on charges of fraud and conspiracy arising from the company's diesel emission-cheating scandal. The charges, which were filed on March 14 in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan [official website] by a federal grand jury, include four counts of federal law violations, including conspiracy to defraud...

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