Bahrain court more than doubles opposition leader's sentence
Court News | 2016/05/31 13:24
A Bahraini appeals court on Monday more than doubled the prison term for the country's top Shiite opposition figure in a ruling that his political bloc blasted as "unacceptable and provocative."

Sheikh Ali Salman now faces nine years behind bars, up from an earlier four, following his conviction last year on charges that included incitement and insulting the Interior Ministry.

Salman is the secretary-general of Al-Wefaq, the country's largest Shiite political group. He was a key figure in Bahrain's 2011 Arab Spring-inspired uprising, which was dominated by the island nation's Shiite majority and sought greater political rights from the Sunni monarchy.

Authorities crushed the initial uprising in a matter of weeks with help from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Localized protests continue in Shiite communities, with young activists frequently clashing with police.

Occasional small bomb attacks have killed police officers in the country, which hosts the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

The case against Salman relates to speeches he gave between 2012 and 2014, though Al-Wefaq has said his words were taken out of context. He was convicted and sentenced by a lower court in June.

Both sides appealed that verdict, with the court ruling Monday in favor of the prosecution while rejecting Salman's appeal, according to a statement carried by the official Bahrain News Agency.



Egypt military court sentences 8 to death
Legal Topics | 2016/05/30 13:24
A security official and the website of state newspaper Al-Ahram say an Egyptian military court has sentenced to death eight alleged Muslim Brotherhood members on terrorism charges.

The Sunday verdict sentenced another 12 to life in prison and another six to 15 years. Two have been acquitted, and two were convicted in absentia.

Military prosecutors had accused the defendants of belonging to an illegal group and plotting to assassinate police and army personnel. The verdict can still be appealed.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't allowed to brief reporters.

Earlier this month, an Egyptian court recommended the death sentence against six people.

The Brotherhood was banned and declared a terrorist group after the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.



Man admits kidnapping teen girl, raping her during captivity
Court News | 2016/05/28 13:24
A man who kidnapped a 14-year-old girl when she accepted his offer of a ride home from school because her feet were sore, held her in captivity for nine months and raped her repeatedly at his trailer acknowledged his crimes on Thursday.
 
Nathaniel Kibby pleaded guilty to kidnapping, aggravated felonious sex assault and criminal threatening, and prosecutors asked for a sentence of 45 to 90 years in prison for him.

Kibby, who had pleaded not guilty shortly after his arrest, had been scheduled to go on trial next month on nearly 200 felony charges related to the girl's October 2013 disappearance and the months that followed. But he changed his plea to guilty at a hearing on Thursday.

Before the 35-year-old Kibby could enter his new plea, a prosecutor said Kibby had kidnapped the girl by offering her a ride home from her school and then brandishing a gun when she attempted to get out of his car.

Prosecutor Jane Young said the girl and Kibby didn't know each other and she accepted the ride because she'd worn boots to school and her feet were blistered. Young said when the girl tried to get out of the car in a parking lot Kibby pulled out the gun and threatened to "blow her brains out."

Kibby also pleaded guilty to witness tampering and other offenses. Last week, a judge ruled Kibby's lawyers could not question the girl before his trial about her exposure to media coverage and the amount of freedom she was given to move about his trailer in Gorham, where prosecutors say he used a stun gun, zip ties and a shock collar to control her.

Kibby was charged with kidnapping the girl on Oct. 9, 2013, as she walked home from her high school in Conway. The girl returned to her home in North Conway the night of July 20, 2014, but prosecutors have not elaborated on the circumstances of her return. She waited until a week after she was home to reveal Kibby's identity. She was able to identify Kibby because she spotted his full name inside a cookbook in his home.

Lawyers hired by the girl's family said she had suffered "numerous acts of unspeakable violence" during her months of captivity. Their statement was largely a plea for privacy and did not elaborate on what she endured. The girl, who is now 17 years old, attended Thursday's hearing.



Court upholds $3M judgment against Gerber Products Co.
Court News | 2016/05/27 13:24
A sharply divided Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday said a baby food manufacturer must pay more than $3 million to workers for the time they spent dressing and undressing into uniforms and protective gear.

In a 4-3 ruling, the high court upheld a lower court's ruling that Gerber Products Co. should have compensated more than 800 workers at its Fort Smith facility for the time they spent changing into uniforms, donning protective gear such as ear plugs and washing their hands, as well as undressing after their shifts ended. Justices sided with the workers who said Arkansas' Minimum Wage Act required the company to compensate for the activities despite an agreement with the union.

"We hold that the donning and doffing activities constitute compensable work under the AMWA, despite the custom and practice under the collective-bargaining agreement," Justice Karen Baker wrote in the majority opinion.

The ruling drew sharp objections from three justices, who said in a dissenting opinion that because of the decision "the floodgates will open to litigation at the enormous cost to businesses in Arkansas."

"In addition, the majority undermines the collective-bargaining process and destroys any confidence employers and employees have in the enforceability of their agreements," Justice Rhonda Wood wrote.

Gerber had argued the workers' union had agreed to not be paid for the time in a contract that also included larger wage increases for the employees. The company said in a statement it was disappointed with the ruling and was evaluating its options.



Swedish court upholds arrest warrant for Julian Assange
Court News | 2016/05/26 13:25
A Swedish court on Wednesday rejected a request to overturn the arrest warrant of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange because there were no new circumstances to consider.

The Stockholm District Court said it made the decision because Assange is still wanted for questioning in a case of suspected rape and that "there is still a risk that he will depart or in some other way evade prosecution or penalty."

The court said it saw no reason to hold another detention hearing saying he would remain "detained in absentia."

Thomas Olsson, Assange's lawyer in Sweden, says he would appeal the decision because "the passivity of the prosecutor had delayed the investigation in an unacceptable" way.

"The prosecutor ought to have arranged for an interview with Mr. Assange at a far earlier stage and she hasn't presented any reasons for not arranging an interview," he told The Associated Press.

Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, is wanted for questioning by Swedish police over rape allegations stemming from his visit to the country in 2010. He denies all the accusations against him made by two women.

He has refused to go back to Sweden for fear of being extradited to the United States because of an investigation into WikiLeaks' dissemination of hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents. Last year, a U.S. federal court confirmed there are "active and ongoing" attempts to prosecute him and WikiLeaks in an investigation involving espionage, conspiracy, and computer fraud.



Hulk Hogan, Gawker back in court in Florida
Court Watch | 2016/05/25 09:41
A court hearing involving the Hulk Hogan sex tape case is underway in Florida, with Gawker Media asking for a new trial.
 
Gawker and Hogan faced off Wednesday morning in a St. Petersburg courtroom. It's the latest chapter in a years-long legal fight.

Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, won a $140 million verdict against Gawker in March.

Hogan sued Gawker after it posted a video of him having sex with his then-best friend's wife. The three-week trial was a lurid inside look at the business of celebrity gossip and a debate over newsworthiness versus celebrity privacy.

Earlier this month, Hogan sued Gawker again, saying the gossip website leaked sealed court documents with a transcript that quoted him making racist remarks.



Swedish court upholds arrest warrant for Julian Assange
Court News | 2016/05/25 09:40
A Swedish court on Wednesday rejected a request to overturn the arrest warrant of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange because there were no new circumstances to consider.

The Stockholm District Court said it made the decision because Assange is still wanted for questioning in a case of suspected rape and that "there is still a risk that he will depart or in some other way evade prosecution or penalty."

The court said it saw no reason to hold another detention hearing saying he would remain "detained in absentia."

Thomas Olsson, Assange's lawyer in Sweden, says he would appeal the decision because "the passivity of the prosecutor had delayed the investigation in an unacceptable" way.

"The prosecutor ought to have arranged for an interview with Mr. Assange at a far earlier stage and she hasn't presented any reasons for not arranging an interview," he told The Associated Press.

Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, is wanted for questioning by Swedish police over rape allegations stemming from his visit to the country in 2010. He denies all the accusations against him made by two women.

He has refused to go back to Sweden for fear of being extradited to the United States because of an investigation into WikiLeaks' dissemination of hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents. Last year, a U.S. federal court confirmed there are "active and ongoing" attempts to prosecute him and WikiLeaks in an investigation involving espionage, conspiracy, and computer fraud.


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