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Legal news from Saturday, July 28, 2007

Technical difficulties...
Jeannie Shawl on July 28, 2007 3:10 PM ET

[JURIST] JURIST experienced a major disk failure on our Pittsburgh server Friday morning, pulling us offline. We are currently working to restore all files and will resume regular publication as soon as possible. Some services and pages may be temporarily unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience.

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Thailand anti-coup protest organizers could be detained for weeks: police
Michael Sung on July 28, 2007 11:05 AM ET

[JURIST] Thailand may continue to hold eight leaders of last Saturday's anti-coup protest for up to 48 days, a Thai police official told Reuters Saturday. Colonel Supisarn Bhakdinarinath said that police are authorized to hold suspects without charge for 12 days, and are allowed to request up to three extensions from a court. The eight protest leaders, anti-coup academics and supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile], were arrested Thursday as a result of an ongoing police investigation of the protest, which turned violent [AP report] after approximately 5,000 protesters were prevented from marching to the home of Prem Tinsulanonda [official website], a retired army general who was allegedly involved in planning last-September's coup [JURIST report]. All eight have denied charges of wrongdoing and have refused bail.

On Monday, a police spokesperson announced that six anti-coup protesters will be charged [JURIST report] with disturbing the peace, injuring police, and destroying government property. The anti-coup protesters also voiced their opposition to the interim-government's proposed draft constitution [JURIST report], which is scheduled for a general referendum on August 19. Thai police did not rule out detaining all eight anti-coup leaders until after the referendum. Interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont [official profile; BBC profile] has ordered government officials to promote support for the draft [Bangkok Post report]. If the draft constitution is rejected by popular referendum, military leaders are authorized under the interim constitution to revise an earlier constitution. Reuters has more.

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FBI memo contradicts Gonzales Patriot Act testimony: Washington Post
Michael Sung on July 28, 2007 10:24 AM ET

[JURIST] A 2004 FBI memorandum appears to contradict congressional testimony by US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile; JURIST news archive] concerning whether he was aware of FBI "abuses" of the USA Patriot Act [JURIST news archive] when he testified for the law's reauthorization in 2005, the Washington Post reported Saturday. Gonzales, who testified in 2005 "there has not been one verified case of civil liberties abuse," told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday that his use of the word "abuse" referred only to "intentional violations" by the FBI. The FBI memorandum, however, sent to the President's Intelligence Oversight Board and the Department of Justice in October 2004, notes that an FBI agent willfully and intentionally violated safeguards restricting the use of national security letters (NSL) [CRS backgrounder, PDF; FBI backgrounder]. The memorandum appears to contradict Gonzales' assertion that his 2005 testimony was accurate.

Earlier in July, the Washington Post reported that Gonzales had received at least six internal FBI reports [JURIST report] that the FBI had improperly used NSLs prior to his April 27, 2005 testimony during the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing [committee materials; transcript]. DOJ spokesperson Brian Roehrkasse defended Gonzales' testimony, telling the Post that the statements referred only to the lack of verified cases by the DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) [official website] and did not include documents from the FBI. The Washington Post has more.

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Australia lifts travel ban for Haneef after prosecutors drop terror charge
Michael Sung on July 28, 2007 9:57 AM ET

[JURIST Australian Immigration and Citizenship Minister Kevin Andrews [official website] told reporters Saturday that the Australian government has given Dr. Mohammad Haneef [JURIST news archive] permission to leave Australia, reversing a previous decision to place the former terror suspect under home detention [BBC report]. Haneef's transfer to home detention followed the Australian chief prosecutor's decision Friday to drop the terror charge [JURIST report] Haneef faced in connection with June's attempted UK car bomb attacks [JURIST report]. Haneef, who has not been implicated by UK authorities in the attacks, departed for Bangalore, India shortly after Andrews' announcement. Haneef's lawyer, Peter Russo said that Australian immigration authorities have made the lifting of restrictions on Haneef's travel conditional upon Haneef not speaking to the media or allowing himself to be photographed. Russo said that Haneef will continue his appeal against the revocation of his work visa at the Federal Court of Australia [official website]. Haneef's next hearing is scheduled for August 8.

On Friday, Australian Director of Public Prosecutions Damian Bugg ordered the dismissal of a charge of reckless material support for terrorists [JURIST report] against Haneef due to insufficient evidence [press release]. Lawyers and rights groups have rebuked the Australia government's handling of the case and its continued detention of Haneef after he was granted bail on criminal charges last week. Andrews revoked Haneef's work visa on the grounds that Haneef had "associations with people who have been involved in criminal conduct" and placed Haneef under immigration detention [JURIST report]. AP has more. AAP has local coverage.

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