Posts Tagged ‘lawyers’

US Justice Department report clears authors of Bush torture memos

February 22, 2010

By Kate Randall, wsws.org, Feb 22, 2010

A US Justice Department report released Friday has exonerated the Bush administration lawyers whose secret memos justified waterboarding and other forms of torture by CIA interrogators.

The ethics report of the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) said that John C. Yoo, 42, and Jay S. Bybee, 56, authors of the August 2002 and March 2003 “torture memos,” had used “poor judgment” and flawed legal reasoning. However, the report concluded they were not guilty of “professional misconduct” and would face no sanctions. Yoo and Bybee worked in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), advising the White House.

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Pakistan protesters begin march

March 12, 2009
Al Jazeera, March 12, 2009

Riot police were deployed as anti-government protesters prepared to begin their march [AFP]

Hundreds of Pakistani lawyers and activists have started a anti-government march from the city of Karachi, the main city of Sindh province.

Riot police on Thursday arrested dozens of protesters and stopped cars and buses from collecting hundreds of lawyers assembled at the high court ready for the journey to Islamabad.

The lawyers, who are calling on Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistani president, to reinstate judges sacked in 2007 by previous president Pervez Musharraf, instead left the high court on foot and started their march with other anti-government protesters.

“We’ve started the march to achieve our goal,” Munir A Malik, a former president of the supreme court bar association and a protest organiser, said.

The demonstrators are scheduled to arrive in Islamabad, the federal capital, on Monday, where they hope they will join thousands of other anti-government protesters for a rally outside the parliament.

“It is a test for the new government, as to whether it will be in a position to give people their democratic rights,” Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Islamabad, said.

“Across the country there has been a heavy clampdown by the security agencies in spite of the fact that the Pakistani prime minister said that there would no problem with the march as long as it is peaceful.”

Arrests made

The 1,500km-long march comes in spite of a ban on demonstrations in the provinces of Punjab and Sindh, where thousands of troops have been deployed.

Police across the country on Wednesday rounded up about 300 people, including members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan’s main opposition party.

Nawaz Sharif, the leader of the PML-N and a former prime minister, had called on Wednesday for people to “change the destiny of Pakistan” by attending the march.

The PML-N quit the cabinet last year to protest against the new civilians government’s failure to honour a deadline to reinstate Iftikhar Chaudhry, the former supreme court justice, and other judges sacked by Musharraf.

Sharif disqualified

In February, Pakistan’s supreme court disqualified Sharif from contesting elections, fuelling the bitter power struggle between the PML-N leader and Zardari, who briefly allied in the campaign to force Musharraf from the presidency.

Sharif, left, has criticised Zardari for not reinstating the sacked judges [AFP]

The ruling forced Sharif’s party out of power in Punjab, placing the province under central government control. But in an apparent concession to Sharif, Yousaf Raza Gilani, Pakistan’s prime minister, said on Wednesday that the government wanted central rule over the province to end.

Whichever party has the sufficient mandate to form the provincial government should take over, he said.

The PML-N has the most support in Punjab, although it does not have a clear majority to run the provincial government alone.

Raja Assad Hameed, the Nation newspaper, said that many of the protesters are looking for the central government to relinquish its control over the province.

“They are coming to Islamabad to tell Zardari that the mandate in Punjab, the powerhouse of Pakistani politics, should be given back to the legitimate representatives of the people and that the governor’s rule should be lifted from Punjab,” he said.

“The situation could go anywhere from here; the government has lost its credibility and popularity very prematurely.”

The growing divide between the government and the opposition has increased concerns over the long-term stability of nuclear-armed Pakistan, a major US ally in the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.


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