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Legal news from Tuesday, February 21, 2017
by Brittany Felder

Human rights groups on Tuesday urged the Thai Army to drop defamation charges against three activists, including the Chair of Amnesty International Thailand, Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, and Anchana Heemmina, founder of Duay Jai Group, and Somchai Homlaor, a human rights lawyer. The activists are being held and face up to seven years in jail for publishing a report …

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by Brittany Felder

The US Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to review a lethal injection case from Alabama, over the dissent of Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer. The appeal was filed by inmate Tommy Arthur, who was challenging the method of his execution, claiming that it was difficult for inmates to effectively challenge the method …

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by Rachel Gerber

The US Supreme Court granted certiorari on Tuesday to determine whether a guilty plea waives a defendant's right to challenge the constitutionality of the statute under which he was convicted. The case, Class v. US [docket; cert. petition, PDF], concerns a guilty plea made by Rodney Class to possession of a firearmt. Class lacked counsel at …

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by Matthew Santiago

The People's Democratic Party (HDP) of Turkey filed an application Monday asking the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to address the continuous and allegedly unlawful imprisonment of the party's co-chairs. Thirteen HDP politicians have been arrested since November, and 10 of them still await trial. The HDP declared that these …

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by Jonathon Churchin

The Court of Appeal of England and Wales on Tuesday rejected a heterosexual couple's legal challenge to the Civil Partnership Act 2004, ruling 2-1 that only same-sex couples may enter into civil partnerships. The court's decision gave the government more time to review the law, which currently prohibits opposite-sex couples from taking advantage of civil partnership arrangements. …

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by Alexandra Farone

A Portuguese court ordered the extradition of former US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative Sabrina de Sousa to Italy Tuesday for a four-year prison sentence. De Sousa had been convicted in absentia along with 26 other Americans for the kidnapping of Soama Moustafa Hassan Nasr from Milan in 2003. The abduction took place as part of the …

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by Matthew Santiago

A Tel Aviv military court on Tuesday issued an 18-month prison sentence to an Israeli soldier who stirred Middle Eastern tensions after executing a Palestinian last year. Contrary to military guidelines, Sgt. Elor Azaria, an army medic, shot the unarmed and wounded Palestinian after the man had stabbed a soldier in the city of Hebron. In January …

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by Rachel Gerber

Lawyers and legal experts expressed concern on Sunday that the UK's consideration of leaving the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) after the settlement of Brexit could result in a deterioration of human rights. The letter was signed by more than 50 prominent members of the legal field. The criticism rested heavily on statements made …

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by Jonathon Churchin

The 2014 trial of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi failed to meet international fair trial standards, according to a UN report published Tuesday. The UN "closely monitored" the proceedings and conducted individual investigations with integral parties. The report recognized efforts made by the government to elevate standards, one being the decision to live broadcast the trial. However, the …

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by Justin Cosgrove

The Florida Supreme Court ruled Monday that prosecutors can seek the death penalty during an ongoing case despite constitutional concerns with Florida's death penalty law. Last October the state's Supreme Court ruled that the state's new death penalty law was unconstitutional. The US Supreme Court had ruled in January of last year …

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by Justin Cosgrove

An Iowa union filed a lawsuit Monday challenging a new Iowa law that eliminates most collective bargaining rights for public workers. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Iowa Council 61 argues that the law violates language in the Iowa Constitution ensuring equality to citizens and should be blocked. The union …

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