Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Father’s Urgent Plea to See His Son Freed From Death Row in Saudi Arabia

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was arrested in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province in 2012 when he was only 17 years old. He was sentenced to death after a grossly unfair trial based on forced "confessions" allegedly after being tortured, and has recently been moved into solitary confinement. His uncle, Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, a Shi'a cleric and vocal critic of the authorities was also sentenced to death last year. In a piece written for Amnesty International, Ali's father recalls his young son and brother, who are both at imminent risk of execution. Please take action now to help stop Ali Mohammed al-Nimr's execution.

Every time I enter and leave my house through our garage, a bicycle in the corner catches my eye, shining brightly.

Looking at that bicycle brings back painful memories of my young son Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who has been sentenced to death and is facing imminent execution in my homeland, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Tell President Obama the US Must Do More for Refugees

For centuries, the United States opened its arms to refugees whose lives had been torn apart by war, and those ruthlessly hounded because of who they are or what they believe in. But today, the people of Syria are suffering these hardships on an unimaginable scale, and we're still waiting for US leadership on the biggest humanitarian crisis of our time.


As the pictures of this week have shown, many Syrians who have survived their government's barrel bombs or the knives of ISIS have died trying to find security. By contrast, the world's richer countries have only opened their doors for a tiny fraction of Syria's refugees. Since July 31, 2014, the United States has processed just more than 1,000 Syrians for resettlement. Without US leadership, the international community will never meet the United Nations' goal of resettling 380,000 Syrians.

The refugees cannot go home. In the refugee camps, many are barely surviving on as little as 50 cents a day. Syria's children are becoming a lost generation – traumatized and out of school, working to support their families.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Do Supreme Court Decisions Move Markets?

Stock traders might want to start paying a bit more attention to the Supreme Court.

That's according to one research report published this week that says Supreme Court decisions moved the market value of publicly traded companies by a net $140 billion between 1999 and 2014.

But unlike economic data or other typical market-moving news, there is often an hours-long time lag in trading around Supreme Court decisions. The implication, according to the report, is that there might be arbitrage opportunities for savvy traders willing to sift through complex legal rulings.

"This is not a market that's particularly well understood, so it's taking a lot longer for traders to sort it out," said Daniel Katz, an associate professor at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, who was a lead author on the report, which was produced by a four-person team including another law professor and a legal analytics consultant.

Killer facts: The scale of the global arms trade

  • A definitive figure for the value of international conventional arms transfers is difficult to calculate with precision. In 2010, the total value, as recorded in national statistics, was approximately US $72 billion. Since then, it is estimated that it the arms trade has been approaching US $100 billion annually. [Source: Solutions, "The Arms Trade Treaty: Building a Path to Disarmament", 2013
  • The annual authorized trade in small arms and light weapons exceeds US $8.5 billion. More than 1,000 companies from nearly 100 countries produce small arms and light weapons. [Source: Small Arms Survey]

Monday, August 24, 2015

Chelsea Manning: “Why Speaking Out Is Worth the Risk”

Chelsea Manning is serving a 35-year prison sentence for leaking classified US government documents to the website WikiLeaks. From her prison cell in Kansas, Chelsea tells us why speaking out against injustice can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Why did you decide to leak documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?
These documents were important because they relate to two connected counter-insurgency conflicts in real-time from the ground. Humanity has never had this complete and detailed a record of what modern warfare actually looks like. Once you realize that the co-ordinates represent a real place where people live; that the dates happened in our recent history; that the numbers are actually human lives – with all the love, hope, dreams, hatred, fear, and nightmares that come with them – then it's difficult to ever forget how important these documents are.

Chelsea Manning: "Why Speaking Out Is Worth the Risk"

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

New Law School Courses Explore Nietzsche, Guns and Bible

A trip to a shooting range, a deep dive into Nietzsche and an exploration into what's ailing American cities. These are among the adventures that law school students can look forward to this fall.

The law school curricula is always evolving. There will always be courses on torts, property, civil procedure and other core subjects. But other offerings reflect the passions and problems of the day. Law Blog takes a look at some of the more unorthodox ones on the schedule this coming academic year.

• New York University's Barry Friedman is teaching a new course called "Democratic Policing" that looks at the "deep difficulties with policing in the United States" and the "failure of democratic processes and accountability."

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Victory for Rafael Marques and Freedom of Expression in Angola!

Diamonds. Murder. Torture. Broken promises. Important officials. International players. All the elements of a gripping narrative told in a Hollywood blockbuster. Except this isn't fiction, and the person on trial was the journalist who made sure the world knew the story.

Rafael Marques de Morais, Angolan journalist and human rights defender, spent the last nearly three years defending his right to tell what happened to the miners and villagers in the Lunda Norte diamond fields region.

He alleged in a book that seven Angolan generals and two mining companies were complicit in the human rights violations he documented. Those generals and the companies then sued him for criminal defamation, first in Portugal where the book was published and then in Angola.

Click to read


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Homage or Theft? A Closer Look at the ‘Blurred Lines’ Verdict

A federal jury in Los Angeles on Tuesday ordered singers Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams to pay about $7.4 million to the family of Marvin Gaye, after finding the duo's 2013 hit song "Blurred Lines" copied parts of Mr. Gaye's "Got to Give it Up."

The verdict, which was returned after several days of deliberation, represents a significant win for the three children of Mr. Gaye, who died in 1984. The children claimed that "Blurred Lines" was more than a simple homage to Mr. Gaye and his 1970s sound. Rather, they alleged that parts of the song stole directly from Mr. Gaye's 1977 song.

For now, a few questions.

Ohio High Court Strikes Down Cleveland’s ‘Jock Tax’

Getty Images

Ohio's highest court on Thursday struck down Cleveland's so-called "jock tax," ruling that the city was excessively taxing visiting professional athletes using an illegal method to calculate their bills.

Retired NFL football players Hunter Hillenmeyer and Jeff Saturday have spent years battling Cleveland in court over claims that the city was subjecting athletes playing for visiting teams to disproportionately high municipal income taxes.

The city's unusual tax rule calculates a professional athlete's taxable income based on how many games an athlete plays in Cleveland. Other cities use a method based on how much time players spend in the city.

Mr. Hillenmeyer, a former Chicago Bears linebacker who retired in 2010, played one game a year in Cleveland — over a 20-game season — between 2004 and 2006. Cleveland applied its income tax to 5% (1/20) of his earnings.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Alan Dershowitz’s Accuser Swears By Her Story Of Sexual Misconduct

The woman who accused Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz of having sexual relations with her while she was a minor has filed a declaration in federal court in the Southern District of Florida this week.  In her declaration, she affirms her earlier allegations and fills in a few more details about her alleged encounters with Dershowitz.  The woman is believed to be Virginia Roberts, based on her self-disclosure to media sources.

Dershowitz has vigorously defended himself against the allegations since they appeared in a December 30 motion to join additional plaintiffs to an ongoing Crime Victims' Rights Act suit against the United States.  Virginia Roberts, identified in the motion as Jane Doe #3, is one of the women asking to join the suit.  The plaintiffs in the CVRA suit claim that federal prosecutors violated the plaintiffs' rights by secretly negotiating a sweetheart plea deal with billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.  On January 5, Dershowitz filed a declaration with the court, disputing the charges of sexual wrongdoing.

Click to read