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Brazil: Federal Supreme Court Changes Its Understanding of Enforcement of Sentences

(Mar. 11, 2016) On February 17, 2016, the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal) ruled that requiring a defendant to start serving a sentence after an intermediate appellate court’s confirmation of a criminal conviction does not offend the constitutional principle of the defendant’s presumption of innocence. Minister Teori Zavascki, who wrote the opinion, held that an intermediate appellate […]

Saudi Arabia: 32 People on Trial for Treason and Spying

(Feb. 29, 2016) On February 21, 2016, the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, began the trial of a group of 30 Saudis, an Afghani, and an Iranian on charges of treason and spying for Iran. The accused were allegedly in direct contact with the Iranian Intelligence Services, and some of them are said […]

Cambodia: Judicial System Criticized for Treatment of Rape Victims

(Dec. 2, 2015) On November 29, 2015, the Cambodian human rights nongovernmental organization Licadho released a report entitled Getting Away with It: The Treatment of Rape in Cambodia’s Justice System, as part of its 16-day initiative focused on gender-based violence.   (Latest Human Rights News, Licadho website (last visited Nov. 29, 2015).)  Licadho, which was founded […]

Indonesia: Aceh Province Law Expands Caning Punishment to Adultery and Homosexual Acts

(Oct. 28, 2015) A provincial law on criminal offenses under Sharia law, passed in 2014, came into effect on October 23, 2015, in Indonesia’s Aceh Province, the only part of the country that enforces Islamic Sharia law. (Aceh Regulation No. 6, 2014, Aceh government website (Oct. 22, 2014).) The local regulation prescribes a punishment of […]

Israel: Court Rejects Claim of Distinction Between “Civil” and “Military” Activities of Hamas

(Sept. 22, 2015)  On September 3, 2015, Israel’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal against the conviction of four individuals by the Jerusalem District Court on charges of financing and managing Hamas’ “civilian” activities in East Jerusalem.  (CrimA 1784/14 Ashraf Asoor v. State of Israel (Sept. 3, 2015), THE JUDICIAL AUTHORITY (in Hebrew).) Hamas was designated […]

Denmark: Higher Penalties for Rape and Other Violent Crimes Contemplated

(Aug. 19, 2015) The new Danish Minister of Justice, Søren Pind, supports increasing the penalties for rape and other violent crimes in Denmark, it was reported on August 13, 2015. The Ministry is preparing a report on the issue that is expected to be completed in six months. (Lucie Rychla, Justice Minister Wants Higher Penalties […]

Israel: Supreme Court Approves Harsher Sentencing for Stealing Smart Phones

(July 31, 2015) On July 14, 2015, Israel’s Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, rejected an appeal of a sentence imposed on a person convicted of four robberies of minors 14 to 15 years of age involving smart phones. (CrimA 8627/14 Dvir v. State of Israel, STATE OF ISRAEL: THE JUDICIAL AUTHORITY (July 13, 2015) […]

Iceland: Update: Supreme Court Increases Jail Sentence for Kaupthing Bank Director and Shareholder

(July 2, 2015) On February 12, 2015, the Icelandic Supreme Court decided the Al-Thani Case, in which the Chief Executive of Kaupthing Bank, the CEO of its Luxembourg branch, the Chairman of the Board, and the bank’s largest shareholder were charged with market manipulation. (Iceland Jails Kaupthing Bankers for Market Manipulation, NEW YORK TIMES (Feb. […]

Saudi Arabia: Visit to Hospital Patients and Digging Graves in Lieu of Prison Term

(June 12, 2015) The Criminal Court in Jeddah Province, Saudi Arabia, substituted a novel punishment for a prison sentence against two young women and two young men by ordering the women to visit ten intensive care patients in one of the government hospitals and the men to dig five graves. The crime for which the […]

Bangladesh: Supreme Court Rules Mandatory Death Sentences Unconstitutional

(May 20, 2015) On May 5, 2015, the Appellate Division of the Bangladesh Supreme Court declared sections 6(2), 6(3), and 6(4) of the Women and Children Repression (Special Provisions) Act, 1995 and section 34(2) of the Prevention of Oppression Against Women and Children Act, 2000 unconstitutional “because they prescribe a mandatory death penalty for the […]