JURIST Supported by the University of Pittsburgh
Serious law. Primary sources. Global perspective.
Listen to Paper Chase!

Legal news from Thursday, July 21, 2011

Canada crime drops to nearly 40-year low
Chris Morris on July 21, 2011 4:03 PM ET

Photo source or description
[JURIST] Statistics Canada [official website] reported Thursday that Canadian crime rates have hit their lowest levels [materials] since 1973. Crime fell 5 percent in 2010 to just over two million crimes committed. Experts cite [Toronto Sun report] Canada's aging population as well as keeping children in school longer as major reasons for the decline. The recent statistics have led opponents of the current administration to criticize recent increased funding for crime prevention and prisons. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper [official website] announced plans last month to pass several crime bills [Huffington Post report] that are estimated to add a billion dollars a year to the budget and 4,000 new inmates a year. New measures include eliminating pardons for sexual crimes against children, establishing minimum sentences for drug offenses and implementing preventative arrests for terrorism suspects.

The Canadian drop in crime mirrors recent trends in the US. In May, the FBI reported that violent crime was down 5.5 percent [JURIST report] from 2009 to 2010. The Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report, January-December 2010 [text] also showed a decrease in murder by 4.4 percent and in rape by 4.2 percent. The highest drop was the decrease in robbery at 9.5 percent. The 5.5 percent decrease was down from the 6.2 percent decrease reported in the 2010 six-month report from January to June [JURIST report].

Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

Malaysia urged to release 6 opposition leaders
Julia Zebley on July 21, 2011 3:52 PM ET

Photo source or description
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Thursday urged the government of Malaysia [BBC profile] to release six leaders [text] of the opposition Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) [party website, in Malay] who are being held for organizing a rally [official website; JURIST report] earlier this month. Originally they were charged with "preparing to wage war against the king," but were released and then immediately re-arrested and held under the Emergency (Public Order and Crime Prevention) Ordinance (EO) [text, PDF], a law that provides for the government to detain someone indefinitely without trial. The EO has been in place since 1969, and its repeal has been sought by HRW [report text] since 1996. The six are reportedly being held in solitary confinement, blindfolded and subjected to continual intense interrogations. There were an additional 21 PSM members who were arrested and are still charged, but are freed on bail. The six have habeas corpus hearings scheduled for Friday in Kuala Lumpur High Court [official website], but it is unknown if the political prisoners will be permitted to attend.

Last year, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention [official website] urged Malaysia to repeal or amend its internal security laws [JURIST report], which allow indefinite detainment without trial. At the end of an official visit, the group said amending the laws would allow Malaysia to conform to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [text]. Malaysia's internal security laws have been heavily criticized. Last August, a Malaysian court charged 29 protesters [JURIST report] for their alleged involvement in rallies against the country's Internal Security Act. The demonstration was allegedly started by the Abolish ISA Movement [advocacy blog]. The law was protested by an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people in Kuala Lumpur, resulting in 589 arrests and the use of tear gas and water cannons by police. The protesters were charged with aiding an illegal organization or participating in an illegal rally since a police permit was not obtained. At the time, Prime Minister Najib Razak [official website; BBC profile] dismissed the protest as being unnecessary since he previously pledged to review the controversial law.

Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

UK court allows Kenya citizens to sue UK government for torture
Maureen Cosgrove on July 21, 2011 3:30 PM ET

Photo source or description
[JURIST] A UK court on Thursday ruled [text, PDF] that four elderly Kenyans could sue Britain's government on claims related to torture that took place during a 1950s anti-colonial rebellion. The Kenyans, who are now over 70 years old, allege that they were beaten and sexually assaulted [AP report] by British administration officers attempting to quell the Mau Mau uprising [advocacy backgrounder, DOC]. High Court Judge Richard McCombe said the case could proceed despite the government's argument that the alleged abuses occurred too long ago and that all liability of the colonial administration passed to the Kenyan government upon gaining independence in 1963. McCombe said there was "voluminous" evidence suggesting the UK government may be liable to the plaintiffs, but refrained from reaching a judgment on the merits of the plaintiffs' claims. The law firm representing the four Kenyans welcomed the ruling [press release]:
Our clients are delighted that the High Court has rejected the British Government's arguments so emphatically. It is an outrage that the British Government is dealing with victims of torture so callously. We call on the British Government to deal with these victims of torture with the dignity and respect they deserve and to meet with them and their representatives in order to resolve the case amicably.
The claimants are seeking an apology and compensation for the alleged beatings, sexual abuse, and unlawful detention.

The group of four Kenyans [advocacy profiles, DOC], originally five, involved in the country's Mau Mau uprising sued the British government [JURIST report] in June 2009, alleging that they were abused in British prison camps. The Mau Mau rebellion was led by members of the largely impoverished Kikuyu tribe [backgrounder] and lasted from 1952-1960. The uprising was notorious for atrocities committed by both the rebels and British colonial forces. Official casualty figures eventually set the number of European deaths at 32 and the number of Kenyans killed at just over 11,000. Unofficial estimates have put the latter number as high as 50,000 [Guardian report]. Onyango Obama, the Kenyan grandfather of US President Barack Obama, is said to have been detained and tortured during the British government's suppression of the insurgents. Kenya became officially independent from Britain in 1963.

Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

Hungary acquittal of accused Nazi to be appealed by prosecution, defense
Julia Zebley on July 21, 2011 3:03 PM ET

Photo source or description
[JURIST] Both the prosecution and the defense in the case of alleged Nazi Sandor Kepiro have announced they will be appealing a Hungarian court's decision to acquit [JURIST report]. Kepiro was acquitted of participating in the 1942 Novi Sad massacre in Serbia. Prosecutor Zsolt Falvai declared the acquittal unfounded [AP report] and said the three-judge panel had misinterpreted his evidence. The panel found two of his three key pieces of evidence inadmissible: the testimony of a Hungarian Lieutenant in the 1940s who had lied on-record before and was likely under duress, and a prior conviction of Kepiro for the raids that had been annulled. Kepiro persistently denied involvement in the raid and continues to even after his acquittal. His defense lawyer, Zsolt Zetenyi has appealed to the judges to record the acquittal as decided by Kepiro's lack of involvement in the massacre [AP report], not a lack of evidence. Zetenyi and Kepiro's pleas for vindication may not be unfounded, as Kepiro is still being publicized as a war criminal by several Jewish groups. The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) [advocacy website], a Jewish human rights organization committed to finding and prosecuting Holocaust war criminals, located and apprehended Kepiro in 2006. They released a statement [text] after the acquittal, calling the judgment, "an outrageous miscarriage of justice which directly contradicts the extensive evidence of Kepiro's direct involvement and responsibility." A spokesperson for the Novi Sad Jewish community said that a global campaign will be launched to inform the world if the acquittal stands.

Kepiro's prosecution was likely one of the last of an accused Nazi. In May, the trial of accused Nazi guard John Demjanjuk [NNDB profile, JURIST news archive] ended when he was convicted [JURIST report] but released because of his advanced age. An appeal [JURIST report] of his release is pending. In November, Nazi guard Samuel Kunz [Trial Watch profile], 89, passed away [JURIST report] in his home before he could be brought to trial. He was accused of aiding in the killing of hundreds of thousands of Jewish people at the Belzec concentration camp [HRP backgrounder].

Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

House committee votes for international abortion funding restriction
Chris Morris on July 21, 2011 2:50 PM ET

Photo source or description
[JURIST] The US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs [official website] Thursday voted in favor of reinstituting a directive known as the "Mexico City policy," or "Global Gag Rule," that prohibits government funding from going to international organizations that perform abortions [JURIST news archive] or provide information, referrals and counselors regarding abortions. The provision, which includes an exception for cases of rape, incest or threats to health, is part of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act [text], a larger spending bill. The provision was met with opposition [AP report] by Planned Parenthood Federation of America [advocacy website], various women's rights groups and Democrats including Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) [official website], who filed an amendment [text, PDF] to strike the section before being outvoted. Berman claimed that, "The Global Gag Rule is a harmful policy that prevents poor women and families around the world from gaining access to essential information and health care services," and also that the "language of the bill ... bars ... assistance [in] HIV/AIDS funding, water and sanitation, child survival, and education."

If approved by the House and Senate, the provision would reverse US President Barack Obama's 2009 memorandum that repealed the ban [JURIST report] after reinstatement by the Bush administration. The Gag Rule has been the subject of much debate since the Reagan Administration. The law was named for the location of the UN International Conference on Population (UNICP) held in Mexico City in 1984, where it was originally announced. The funding ban was enacted that same year, but was repealed in 1993 by former president Bill Clinton. The ban was overturned in 2001 [memorandum text] by then-president George W. Bush. In 2007, the US House of Representatives passed a measure [JURIST report] that would have reversed the funding restrictions, but the bill was never approved by the Senate.

Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

Rights groups seek to bar Alabama immigration law
Maureen Cosgrove on July 21, 2011 1:54 PM ET

Photo source or description
[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (HICA) [advocacy websites] and several other civil rights groups jointly filed a motion for preliminary injunction [text, PDF] on Thursday in an effort to prevent an Alabama immigration law from taking effect on September 1. The motion, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Alabama [official website], claims the controversial Alabama law [HB 56 text] that expands restrictions on undocumented immigrants is unconstitutional. The law contains measures comparable to those passed in Arizona [JURIST report] last year including authorizing police officers to detain an individual on "reasonable suspicion" the individual is in the country illegally, and requirements that businesses use the federal E-Verify system [official website] to determine whether potential employees are legal residents. The rights groups argue that they are entitled to a preliminary injunction because of their substantial likelihood of success on the merits, irreparable injury to plaintiffs and because the injunction would not be adverse to the public interest. The rights groups filed [JURIST report] a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] earlier this month seeking injunctive and declaratory relief, arguing that HB 56 is preempted by federal law and that, among other constitutional violations, it violates the Fourth Amendment by subjecting citizens and non-citizens with permission to be in the US to unreasonable searches and seizures.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley [official website] signed HB 56 into law last month, just one week after it was passed by the legislature [JURIST reports]. In addition to authorizing detention of individuals on reasonable suspicion they are illegal immigrants, the law provides harsh restrictions on employment for illegal immigrants. Businesses cited multiple times for hiring undocumented workers could lose their business licenses. Furthermore, undocumented immigrants are prohibited from applying for a job, and anyone transporting or harboring undocumented immigrants will be punished by a fine or jail time. In May, the US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] ruled [JURIST report] in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting [Cornell LII backgrounder] that an Arizona employment law that imposes penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants is not preempted by the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) [text]. The ruling opens the door for states to enact similar restraints on immigration. Similar laws have been passed in Indiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, Oklahoma and Utah [JURIST reports]. Federal courts have enjoined laws in Arizona, Indiana, Georgia, Oklahoma and Utah [JURIST reports].

Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

Accused Somali pirates plead not guilty in hijacking that killed 4 Americans
Chris Morris on July 21, 2011 11:50 AM ET

Photo source or description
[JURIST] Three accused Somali pirates [JURIST news archive] pleaded not guilty Wednesday to hijacking a US vessel that resulted in the deaths of four US citizens. Their charges included [AP report] murder, piracy, hostage taking and violence against maritime navigation resulting in death, among other charges. The men were charged earlier this month [JURIST report] in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website] and could face the death penalty, which is under consideration by US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website]. At the arraignment, each man requested a jury trial. Due to language barriers and the international nature of the crimes, the trial is expected to go into 2012.

The men are accused of hijacking a US yacht called Quest in February, an incident where four American citizens were taken hostage and later killed by the pirates. They were the first US citizens to die in the recent wave of international maritime piracy attacks. In March, a grand jury in the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia indicted 14 suspects, 13 Somali and one Yemeni, for hijacking the Quest. The Yemeni suspect pleaded guilty [JURIST report] in July and awaits sentencing scheduled for October. Several other suspects pleaded guilty [JURIST report] in May. Earlier this month, five Somali pirates went on trial [JURIST report] in a Dutch court for hijacking a South African yacht and kidnapping its crew. In April, a Somali pirate was sentenced [JURIST report] by the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] to 25 years in prison for attacking a Danish ship off the coast of Somalia in 2008, for which he and other pirates received a $1.7 million ransom. In May, courts in both Spain and South Korea [JURIST reports] sentenced Somali pirates to life imprisonment.

Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

Security Council declares global warming threat to international security
Julia Zebley on July 21, 2011 11:46 AM ET

Photo source or description
[JURIST] The UN Security Council [official website] on Wednesday made their first official statement [text, PDF] implicating climate change as a serious threat to world peace and security. At the urging of Germany, which released a Concept Note [text] to lead the discussion, the Security Council debated global warming [EPA materials; JURIST news archive] for the first time since 2007. Although Germany pushed for plans of action to be produced on extreme temperatures, rising sea-levels, climate refugees and food shortages, the Council ended up issuing a brief statement instead. The language was reportedly not as strong as some of the nations wanted [BBC report], as Russia pushed for the phrase "possible security implications" in the official text, and denied the other countries the creation of a "green helmets" peacekeeping force [Guardian report] that would step into conflicts where environmental resources become scarce. The statement does affirm that depleting resources has been, and will continue to be, the cause of several international conflicts:
The Security Council notes that in matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security under its consideration, conflict analysis and contextual information on, inter alia, possible security implications of climate change is important, when such issues are drivers of conflict, represent a challenge to the implementation of Council mandates or endanger the process of consolidation of peace. In this regard, the Council requests the Secretary-General to ensure that his reporting to the Council contains such contextual information.
China also felt the debate was inappropriate for the Security Council, arguing the organization should focus strictly on peacekeeping missions. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official profile] made remarks [text] on climate change to the Council, explaining why such a discussion is appropriate:
We must make no mistake. The facts are clear: climate change is real; it is accelerating in a dangerous manner; and it not only exacerbates threats to international peace and security, it is a threat to international peace and security. Extreme weather events continue to grow more frequent and intense in rich and poor countries alike, not only devastating lives, but also infrastructure, institutions, and budgets—an unholy brew which can create dangerous security vacuums. Pakistan, the Pacific Islands, Russia, Western Europe, the Philippines, Colombia, Australia, Brazil, the United States, China, the Horn of Africa—these examples should remind us of the urgency of what we face.
A presidential statement typically occurs when the Council cannot reach enough of consensus to pass a resolution. Security Council members may abstain from a statement, but none did in this instance. Statements are not legally binding to countries in the UN.

In December 2007, the UN Climate Change Conference [official website] agreed in Bali, Indonesia, to a timetable for negotiating an international treaty on global warming [JURIST report]. Under the "Bali Roadmap" [text, PDF; press release, PDF], the 187 participating nations pledged to a negotiate a new agreement to replace the expiring Kyoto Protocol [text; JURIST news archive] at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. This resulted in the Copenhagen Accord [text, PDF], which is not legally binding nor replaces the Kyoto Protocol, but endorses the continuation of the Protocol. The 2010 UN Climate Change Conference also resulted in no major binding agreements for nations. The next climate change conference is scheduled for November 2011.

Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

War crimes affecting Somalia children: AI
Maureen Cosgrove on July 21, 2011 11:19 AM ET

Photo source or description
[JURIST] Somali children continue to be victims of war crimes [press release], Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] said Thursday. In a report [text, PDF] entitled "In the Line of Fire: Somalia's Children Under Attack," AI provides evidence indicating that armed conflict in areas of Somalia has led to deteriorating human rights conditions, particularly for children. Armed military and civilian forces, like the Islamic terrorist group al-Shabaab [CFR backgrounder], regularly recruit Somalian children to serve as soldiers, often denying access to education and placing the children in danger of death and injury. The report contains vignettes illustrating the impact of fighting outbreaks on Somali youth. AI Deputy Director for Africa Michelle Kagari describes some of the human rights abuses Somalian children experience:
Somalia is not only a humanitarian crisis: it is a human rights crisis and a children's crisis. As a child in Somalia, you risk death all the time: you can be killed, recruited and sent to the frontline, punished by al-Shabab because you are caught listening to music or 'wearing the wrong clothes', be forced to fend for yourself because you have lost your parents or even die because you don't have access to adequate medical care.
AI expressed concern that human rights abuses in Somalia are under-reported because dangerous conditions prevent accurate, comprehensive reporting. AI also enumerated recommendations for protecting children, including calls to monitor military recruitment more effectively, initiate investigations and cooperate with international human rights organizations.

Somalia has come under fire for its poor human rights record. The 2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices [materials], released in April by the US Department of State (DOS) [official website], outlined rights set-backs [JURIST report] under the Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu, but noted progress in Somalia [material], particularly in the autonomous regions of Somaliland and Puntland. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] said that human rights violations committed during recent Somalian conflicts, including recruitment of child soldiers, may amount to war crimes [JURIST report]. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] in 2008 that war crimes and other human rights violations are being committed in the ongoing Somali conflict [BBC backgrounder]. Somalia has endured a lengthy civil war and several rounds of failed peace talks [BBC timeline] since the collapse of its last civil government in 1991. In January 2007, the transitional government began imposing martial law [JURIST report] over areas under the government's control. In August 2007, HRW reported that war crimes were rampant [JURIST report] in Somalia.

Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

Ivory Coast sets up commission to investigate post-election violence
Chris Morris on July 21, 2011 10:01 AM ET

Photo source or description
[JURIST] Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara [BBC profile] signed a decree [text, PDF] Wednesday establishing a commission of inquiry to investigate crimes and human rights violations that took place during post-election violence [JURIST news archive] between pro-Ouattara forces and forces loyal to former president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile]. The commission will investigate the abuses and provide recommendations [Reuters report] for implementing measures to prevent similar incidents. Ouattara promised to "take legal action against the perpetrators" if necessary and called on the commission to cooperate with international human rights organizations working to uncover details about the abuses. The Ivory Coast had announced last month it would establish its own commission [JURIST report] to investigate alleged crimes committed as a result of disputed presidential elections. Ouattara gave the commission six months to report the results of the investigation.

The commission is not the first effort to investigate violence in the country. Last month, the Ivory Coast granted permission [JURIST report] to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] to proceed with an investigation into the violence. An official for the UN's International Commission of Inquiry also called for an investigation [JURIST report] into Ouattara and his forces' continuing attacks against Gbagbo supporters last month. Earlier in June, the Ivory Coast issued international arrest warrants [JURIST report] for Gbagbo aides. The prosecutor's office in the capital Abidjan issued the warrants [Reuters report], most notably for Charles Ble Goude, the leader of Gbagbo's youth militia, accusing him of inciting ethnic violence and attacks against UN workers. Other members of Gbagbo's government also had warrants issued for them including the government spokesman Ahoua Don Mello, industry minister Phillipe Attey, and the ambassador to Israel Raymond Koudou Kessie. Twenty-one others already in detention were charged for violence and inciting tribalism and xenophobia. Gbagbo was captured and forced from office [JURIST report] after refusing to leave despite losing last November's election to Ouattara, which resulted in months of fighting between Ouattara's and Gbagbo's forces.

Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

Ecuador journalist sentenced in presidential libel suit
Julia Zebley on July 21, 2011 9:15 AM ET

Photo source or description
[JURIST] Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa [official website, in Spanish; BBC profile] won a criminal libel claim [statement in El Ciudadano, in Spanish] on Thursday against the owners and a columnist of newspaper El Universo [official website, in Spanish], resulting in fines of USD $40 million and a three-year sentence for the offending journalist and editors. Emilio Palacio [Twitter account], Nicholas Perez, Cesar Perez and Carlos Perez, the owners of El Universo, were personally fined $30 million in addition to their sentences, while the newspaper itself was fined $10 million for printing the article. Palacio's editorial, "No to the Lies!" [text, in Spanish] was published in February 2011 and referenced an incident in September 2010 when protesting police officers fired tear gas at Correa, surrounded the hospital at which he was being treated and trapped him there for 12 hours. Palacio's editorial criticized Correa for pardoning the criminals and suggested he was doing so because the "attempted coup" was staged to increase his political power [JURIST report].
What happens is that the dictator finally realized (or his lawyers understood) that's how [staged] the alleged crime of September 30 was, as everything was the result of an improvised script. ... At this point, all the "evidence" to accuse the "coup" is disjointed: the Dictator recognizes that the terrible idea for the Regiment to go to Quito and join the force was his. No one could prepare to kill him because nobody expected it. ... The Dictator should remember, finally, and this is very important for pardons in the future; a new President, perhaps his enemy, could lead him to a criminal court for ordering fire at will and without warning on a hospital full of civilians and innocent people. Crimes against humanity, do not forget, do not prescribe.
Judge Juan Paredas found El Universo in violation of Article 489 of the Criminal Code [text, PDF, in Spanish], "Slander occurs when there is any statement to discredit, dishonor or disparage another person, or any action performed with the same objective." Correa's lawyer, Vera Alembert, may appeal [Bloomberg report] to achieve the $80 million fine he originally sought. Palacio will appeal.

Correa remains resolute that the media in Ecuador is corrupt and must be harnessed. In a statement [El Ciudadano, in Spanish], he called the suit one of his greatest legacies, and that now the Ecuadoran "corrupt press" know they cannot "damage the honor of a person." He also pointed to El Universo's willingness to apologize as a sign of their culpability: "[T]hey knew they had committed a crime, but pride prevented them, as required by the Constitution, to correct [their error]." El Universo, in fact, offered several times to retract the editorial, allow Correa to write his own correction and settle out-of-court, but Correa's lawyer refused their settlement offers [AFP report]. El Universo remains defiant. The newspaper's front page on the day of the verdict displayed a headline of "Condemned" followed by an Ayn Rand quotation: "When you see that men get richer by graft and pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you—when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice—you may know that your society is doomed." El Universo's report [text, in Spanish] states they believe Ecuador's libel laws are in violation of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights [official website], for using criminal law to punish expressions against public officials. Correa has another suit pending against journalists Juan Carlos Calderon and Christian Zurita for their book Big Brother [Amazon profile], which claimed that Correa's brother had awarded millions of dollars of government contracts to businesses for his own profit. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] criticized Correa rallying against journalists earlier this year and pleaded with him to not prosecute journalists [report text].

Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

Australia to sue ex-Guantanamo detainee for book royalties
Maureen Cosgrove on July 21, 2011 9:08 AM ET

Photo source or description
[JURIST] The Australian government announced Thursday that it will sue former Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee David Hicks [JURIST news archive] for royalties from his memoir. Hicks spent more than five years without trial in US custody after being captured in Afghanistan following the terror attacks of 9/11 [JURIST backgrounder]. He wrote an autobiography last year entitled "Guantanamo: My Journey," describing his tenure as a detainee. The Australian Director of Public Prosecutions [official website] applied for a restraining order [AFP reporter] and an order to obtain the book's profits, claiming the profits constitute proceeds of a crime. Pursuant to Australian proceeds of crime law amendments tailored specifically to the Hicks case [JURIST report], the ex-detainee is not permitted to profit from his book. Hicks pleaded guilty to a charge of providing material support [JURIST reports] to terrorists at an appearance before a US military commission in March 2007 and was sentenced to nine months in prison. He was then transferred [JURIST report] to a maximum security prison near his hometown of Adelaide, South Australia to serve the remainder of his nine-month prison sentence.

Under the plea agreement, Hicks was required to state that he "has never been illegally treated" while being held as an enemy combatant by the US and that his detention was lawful pursuant to the laws of armed conflict. Hicks was also prohibited from having contact with the media for a period of one year, ordered not take any legal action against the United States for his treatment during his five-year detention, and required to turn over any profits from an eventual sale of his story to the Australian government. Hicks' detention and trial have been heavily criticized, with the Law Council of Australia, for example, calling Hicks' trial a "charade" [JURIST report]. JURIST Special Guest Columnist and former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser argued that Hicks' trial before a US military commission demonstrated the disturbing willingness of two allegedly democratic governments to abandon the rule of law for an expedient and evil purpose in his op-ed entitled "The US, Australia and David Hicks: Abandoning the Rule of Law."

Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

Guinea authorities arrest nearly 80 suspects after attack on president
Erin Bock on July 21, 2011 8:34 AM ET

Photo source or description
[JURIST] Guinea authorities have arrested between 70 and 80 suspects accused of plotting an attack on President Alpha Conde [official website] Wednesday. Assailants launched rocket-propelled grenades at Condes' home, and three people were killed, including one of his bodyguards. The suspects include [Reuters report] former army leader General Nouhou Thiam and a past member of Conde's presidential guard. Conde delivered an address later in the day on state radio assuring investors that the country is not unstable and asking citizens to remain calm [AP report] and unite. The attacks were "strongly condemned" by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official website] who urged the citizens of Guinea to maintain peace and democracy [statement] in the country. The US Department of State [official website] also issued a statement condemning the attacks [text]:
The Guinean people fought long and hard for the right to choose their leader and have a representative government. Overthrowing a democratic government through force is unacceptable. These violent acts undermine democracy and the rule of law and threaten stability in the region. The United States calls on the people of Guinea to remain committed to the principles of democracy and to express disagreements through peaceful means.
In December, the Supreme Court of Guinea declared Conde the winner [JURIST report] of the country's presidential run-off election held in November. This election ended two years of military rule under a transitional government formed by military captain Moussa Dadis Camara [BBC profile], who staged a coup in the wake of the death of form president Lansana Conte [Guardian profile], who ruled the nation for 24 years.

Guinea was also embroiled in political violence late last year when the presidential election gave way to post-election violence [JURIST report], resulting in the deaths of seven people and causing the government to declare a state of emergency. The deputy prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) lamented the killings along with the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). In October, the OHCHR expressed concern that security forces in Guinea "committed serious human rights violations" [JURIST report] in subduing demonstrations. In September, two Guinean election officials were convicted of election fraud [JURIST report] and sentenced to a year in jail in connection with irregularities that arose in the June presidential primary election, one incident in a string of controversies responsible for multiple delays of the runoff, which was initially scheduled for July [Reuters report]. In May, the ICC sent a delegation from the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) [official website] to Guinea to further investigate the killing [JURIST report] of more than 150 pro-democracy protesters in Conakry in September 2009. The protesters had rallied against Camara, who announced in October that he intended to push elections forward three months and stand for election, breaking a promise not to run made shortly after he took power. Camara was ultimately forced into exile two months later after an assassination attempt staged by one of his aides.

Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

For more legal news check the Paper Chase Archive...


Unprecedented Notice of Warrantless Wiretapping in a Closed Case
Ramzi Kassem
CUNY School of Law

Get JURIST legal news delivered daily to your e-mail!


Add Paper Chase legal news to your RSS reader or personalized portal:
  • Add to Google
  • Add to My Yahoo!
  • Subscribe with Bloglines
  • Add to My AOL


Subscribe to Paper Chase by e-mail. JURIST offers a free once-a-day digest [sample]. Enter your e-mail address below. After subscribing and being returned to this page, please check your e-mail for a confirmation message.

R|mail e-mails individual Paper Chase posts through the day. Enter your e-mail address below. After subscribing and being returned to this page, please check your e-mail for a confirmation message.


Join top US law schools, federal appeals courts, law firms and legal organizations by publishing Paper Chase legal news on your public website or intranet.

JURIST offers a news ticker and preformatted headline boxes updated in real time. Get the code.

Feedroll provides free Paper Chase news boxes with headlines or digests precisely tailored to your website's look and feel, with content updated every 15 minutes. Customize and get the code.


Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.


Paper Chase welcomes comments, tips and URLs from readers. E-mail us at JURIST@jurist.org