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] 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...
[JURIST] The President of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website], Remigiusz Henczel [official website], on Wednesday presented the annual report [text, PDF] to the UUN General Assembly (UNGA) [official website], claiming [press release] that the UNHRC has achieved significant progress in the last year despite inadequate financial resources. Henczel stated that the UNHRC adopted [UN News Centre report] "107 resolutions, decisions and President's statements" within the last year, and the council's budget has not kept pace with the...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) [official website] on Thursday dismissed [opinion, PDF] a class action lawsuit arising against Google [corporate website] over the company's unapproved scanning and uploading of copyrighted materials. The case revolved primarily around Google's Library Project [Google backgrounder], which uses advanced scanning techniques to provide digital copies of books to participant libraries. The libraries may only access copies of books of which they also have a...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit [official website] on Wednesday upheld the 2011 conviction [opinion] of Tarek Mehanna, who was found guilty on four terror-related charges and three charges of lying to authorities. Mehenna was accused of traveling to Yemen and training in a terror camp with the intention of traveling to Iraq to fight against American troops. When he returned to the US was accused of providing material support to al Qaeda. Mehanna's lawyers claimed...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] will not hear a case regarding racial discrimination in home sales and rentals after the matter was settled out of court on Wednesday. Originally scheduled for oral argument December 4, the case of Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc. [SCOTUSblog materials] presented the issue of whether disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act. The Fair Housing Act [text] makes it unlawful "[t]o refuse to sell or...
[JURIST] An Egyptian court on Thursday sentenced 12 men to 17 years in prison for their participation in the October protests at Al-Azhar University. The entire demonstration formed at the university in support of deposed Islamist president Mohammed Morsi [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] who was removed from office in a military-led coup in July. The 12 defendants, all students of Al-Azhar according to the Muslim Brotherhood [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], were found guilty [BBC report] of thuggery, assault...
[JURIST] Turkey's Parliament [official website] on Wednesday lifted a ban on female lawmakers wearing trousers in the assembly. Republican People's Party Deputy Safak Pavey [Huffington Post backgrounder] brought up the issue last month during a parliamentary debate on women wearing traditional Islamic headscarves in public institutions. Pavey has a prosthethic leg and had been prohibited from wearing trousers based on regulations specifying that women should wear skirt suits. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's [official website, in Turkish; JURIST news archive]...
[JURIST] Hawaiian Governor Neil Abercrombie [official website] on Wednesday signed into law a bill legalizing same-sex marriage [text, PDF]. The new law will take effect December 2 and will make Hawaii the fifteenth US state to legalize same-sex marriage. The Hawaii Marriage Equality Act of 2013 seeks to ensure that "same-sex couples are able to take full advantage of federal rights, benefits, protections and responsibilities granted to married opposite sex couples," while also ensuring that religious freedoms are protected by...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] in two cases Wednesday. In Unite Here Local 355 v. Martin Mulhall [transcript, PDF; JURIST report] the court addressed the issue of whether an employer and union can violate Section 302 of Labor Management Relations Act [29 USC § 186] by entering into a neutrality agreement. An employee had filed the case against the union, and the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that...
[JURIST] A French appeals court in Paris approved the extradition of Claude Muhayimana and Innocent Musabyimana on Wednesday, two suspects wanted in connection with the 1994 Rwandan genocide [UN backgrounder]. Muhayimana, a French citizen since 2010, is accused [Expatica report] of participating in the massacre of ethnic Tutsis in the town of Kibuye, while Musabyimana's alleged crimes took place in Gisenyi, a Rwandan province along the Congolese border. France has previously extradited individuals [Al Jazeera report] charged for participating in...
[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] published [press release] a study [text, PDF] on Wednesday finding that 3,278 Americans are currently serving life sentences without parole for nonviolent offenses. The study, entitled "A Living Death: Life without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses," explains the racial and gender makeup of the inmates, as well as the state of the law that has led to the increasing rate at which nonviolent offenders are being sentenced to life without parole. In...
[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] on Tuesday emphasized Egypt's need to maintain and respect the right to freedom of assembly and peaceful protest as the country's state of emergency, put in place three months ago, is set to expire. In an official statement released Tuesday evening, the secretary-general stressed [press release] that international human rights standards should serve as the basis for any new legislation, responding to the increasing concern surrounding Egypt's most recent draft protest legislation [JURIST...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Wednesday encouraged action [press release] on behalf of UN members at the upcoming 2013 Convention for Conventional Weapons (CCW) [UN website] on November 14-15, chaired by Ambassador Jean-Hughes Simon-Michel of France. The advocacy group supports France's initiative to add fully autonomous weapons to the CCW's work program for 2014. A UN-wide decision to adopt the initiative will be made on Friday. HRW wants an appropriate forum to discuss the impact that fully...
[JURIST] Egypt's deposed president Mohamed Morsi [BBC profile, JURIST news archive] will file a complaint against current authorities alleging that the coup ousting him from his office was a crime. His lawyers told reporters on Wednesday that the former president is planning to file the complaint with the administrative court. Morsi is current awaiting his trial for inciting the murder of several protesters during his presidency after it was adjourned [JURIST report] earlier this month until January. Morsi rejected the...
[JURIST] A Spanish court on Wednesday acquitted three individuals charged with sinking the Bahamas-flagged oil tanker Prestige 11 years ago, finding no criminal liability. The three-judge court determined [AP report] that the ship sank due to poor maintenance and repair rather than the action of the individuals. The named defendants were Captain Apostolos Mangouras, Chief Engineer Nikolaos Argyropoulos and the former head of Spain's Merchant Navy, Jose Luis Lopez. The court found that the ship had been ordered out to...
[JURIST] An Ecuadorian court on Wednesday ordered Chevron [corporate website] to pay USD $9.51 billion in fines and legal fees. This was a significant reduction [RT report] from the previous $18 billion judgment. The lawsuit, brought by the Amazon Defense Front, arises out of Chevron's drilling for oil in Ecuador and the resulting pollution in the Amazon rainforest and surrounding towns. The original judgment was handed down [JURIST report] in 2011, but Chevron has been appealing since and has also...

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