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Namibia: UN Criticized Namibia for Failing to Outlaw Hate Speech Against Minorities

(Sept. 5, 2008) In its annual report released on August 20, 2008, the U.N. Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) censured Namibia for providing legal protection to the practice of hate speech. The report stated that it is unfortunate that the country's 1998 Racial Discrimination Prohibition Amendment Act continues to restrict […]

Iran: Eight Women, One Man Are Awaiting Stoning to Death

(Sept. 5, 2008) Under Iran's Islamic criminal law (article 83), stoning to death is the punishment for the following acts: 1- Adultery committed by a married man. A married man is a man who has a “permanent” wife and, while of sane mind, has had sexual intercourse with her and may have sexual intercourse with […]

Brazil: Use of Handcuffs Restricted to Exceptional Situations

(Sept. 3, 2008) On August 7, 2008, the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court decided, by unanimous vote, that the use of handcuffs must be restricted to exceptional situations in which there are concrete threats to the safety of others, because handcuff use violates a person's constitutional citizenship rights, as established in article 5 of the Constitution. […]

Brazil: New Law Makes Law Offices Inviolable to Searches and Seizures

(Sept. 3, 2008) On August 7, 2008, the acting Brazilian President, José Alencar, signed into law a bill that makes law offices inviolable to searches and seizures. Alencar vetoed some provisions of the law, following the contitutioanl powers granted to the President to veto bills, either in whole or in part (art. 84, section V, […]

England and Wales: Compensation for Rape Victims Reduced Due to Drinking as Contributing Factor

(Sept. 2, 2008) The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, a body responsible for administering the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme in England and Wales, recently reduced the amount of compensation awarded to 14 victims of rape. The Authority claimed that the women's “excessive consumption of alcohol” was a contributing factor in the rapes and that the compensation […]

Sierra Leone: New Drug Control Law Passed

(Aug. 28, 2008) It was reported on August 2, 2008, that the National Drugs Act of 2008, drafted with the help of the U.N. Office of Drug Control, passed Sierra Leone's legislature with the overwhelming support of the MPs. The law, the draft of which was tabled in Parliament under a “certificate of urgency” signed […]

South Africa: Law to Expunge Criminal Records for Breaking Apartheid Laws

(July 2, 2008) A new bill, the criminal procedure amendment bill, was recently proposed in the Parliament of South Africa. It seeks to expunge criminal records for violations of laws based on race or that created offenses with a view to promoting the policy of apartheid before the 1993 South African Constitution took effect. These […]

United Kingdom: Commons Passes Pre-Charge Detention Bill

(July 2, 2008) On June 11, 2008, a bill to extend the time period that terrorist suspects can be held without charge to gather evidence for criminal cases was passed by a narrow majority in the House of Commons. The counter-terrorism bill extends the period of pre-charge detention from 28 days to 42. The extension […]

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development: Report on Identity Theft

(July 2, 2008) In a report made public on June 13, 2008, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) urged its 30 Member States to make identity theft a stand-alone crime and to adopt laws on notification of national data breaches as a means of better combating identity theft. While some of the Member […]

China: New Regulations on Defense Lawyers in Capital Cases

(June 2, 2008) On May 21, 2008, China's Supreme People's Court and the Ministry of Justice issued the Circular Distributing Certain Provisions on Fully Guaranteeing Lawyers' Carrying Out Defense Obligations According to Law and Assuring the Quality of Handling of Death Penalty Cases. Some highlights of the Provisions are: • Where a legal aid institution […]