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Egypt court releases lawyer who defied president

•  Recent Cases     updated  2016/08/28 14:21


An Egyptian rights lawyer who had been held in solitary confinement for over 100 days after defying President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi was released from jail Sunday on a court order.

Malek Adly, who was incarcerated on a rolling series of administrative detention orders, was freed after a court rejected an appeal by prosecutors a day earlier that had attempted to hold him longer over accusations that included attempting to overthrow the government.

"We don't know what will happen next — the case is still open and they could try to detain him again," said Adly's lawyer, Mahmoud Belal. "What's important though is that he is out."

Adly's supporters say authorities targeted him over a televised interview in which he objected to el-Sissi's decision in April to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, implying that such a move was traitorous.

Along with other lawyers, Adly raised a court case against the handover, arguing that the islands were historically Egypt's, as opposed to the government's position that they had always been Saudi territory and were only placed under temporary Egyptian protection.

About two months after Adly was jailed, an Egyptian court backed his legal suit with a June 21 ruling ordering the island transfer canceled. The government has appealed, and the matter now awaits discussion by a new panel of judges.




A judge whose six-month sentence in the sexual assault case of a former Stanford swimmer has removed himself from handling criminal matters, but efforts to recall him remain.

Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky requested that he be assigned to civil court and that request was approved, the county's Presiding Judge Rise Pinchon said in a statement Thursday.

"While I firmly believe in Judge Persky's ability to serve in his current assignment, he has requested to be assigned to the civil division, in which he previously served," Pichon said. "Judge Persky believes the change will aid the public and the court by reducing the distractions that threaten to interfere with his ability to effectively discharge the duties of his current criminal assignment."

The move is not necessarily permanent. The assignment is subject to an annual review and takes effect Sept. 6.

Pichon said that another judge's desire to transfer to Palo Alto has made a quick swap with Persky possible. Normally such changes don't happen until a new year.

Persky ordered the six-month sentence for Brock Turner, a Dayton, Ohio, resident who had been attending Stanford on a swimming scholarship. The judge cited a probation department recommendation and the effect the conviction will have on Turner's life.




A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld an Ohio law that trims a week of early voting in the swing state, reversing a judge's decision that had restored the time.

Democrats had challenged a series of Republican-backed voting changes they claimed disproportionately burdened black voters and those who lean Democratic. Among the policies was the elimination of early voting days in which Ohioans could also register to vote, a period known as golden week.

The state's attorneys argued that scrapping the days helped alleviate administrative burdens for local elections officials while reducing costs and the potential of fraud. But plaintiffs, who include the state's Democratic Party, said the burden on voters outweighed any benefit to the state.

In a 2-1 decision, a panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled the golden-week cut still allows for "abundant" opportunities to vote within a 29-day window. Prior to the law, Ohioans had a 35-day period.




A federal appeals court will decide whether Kansas has the right to ask people who register to vote when they get their driver's licenses for proof that they're citizens, a decision which could affect whether thousands have their ballots counted in November's election.

Three judges from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in the case Tuesday from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and the American Civil Liberties Union but didn't indicate how soon they could rule.

Kansas wants the court to overturn a ruling by a federal judge in May that temporarily blocked the state from disenfranchising people who registered at motor vehicle offices but didn't provide documents such as birth certificates or naturalization papers. That was about 18,000 people at the time. If the order is allowed to stand, the state says up to an estimated 50,000 people who haven't proven they're citizens could have their votes counted in the fall.

Since 1993, states have had to allow people to register to vote when they apply for or renew their driver's licenses. The so-called motor-voter law says that people can only be asked for "minimal information" when registering to vote, allowing them to simply affirm they are citizens.

The ACLU claims the law intended to increase registration doesn't allow states to ask applicants for extra documents. It also says that motor vehicle clerks don't tell people renewing existing licenses that they need to provide the documents, leaving them under the mistaken impression that their registration is complete when they leave the office.




Polish prosecutors have opened an investigation into the head of the country's Constitutional Tribunal to determine if he abused his power in not allowing judges appointed by the ruling party to take part in rulings.
 
The investigation into Andrzej Rzeplinski, which opened Thursday, is the latest development in an ongoing conflict between the Polish government and the constitutional court, whose role is similar to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The government's conflict with the court has raised international concerns about the state of democracy in Poland, and the political opposition and other critics have slammed the investigation into Rzeplinski as an attack on the separation of powers.

Amid the conflict, Rzeplinski has emerged as one of the key symbols of resistance against the right-wing government, which has moved to centralize power since winning elections last year. The investigation is seen by many as an attempt to discredit him since he enjoys, at least for now, immunity from prosecution. His term as head of the court also expires in December.




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