Thursday, September 4, 2014

Court: US can withhold Guantanamo detainee images

The U.S. government can withhold photographs and videotapes of a Guantanamo Bay detainee identified as the would-be 20th hijacker in the Sept. 11 terror attacks, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan agreed with the government that images of Mohammed al-Qahtani, if made public, "could logically and plausibly be used by anti-American extremists as propaganda to recruit members and incite violence against American interests at home and abroad."

Authorities have said al-Qahtani narrowly missed being one of the hijackers when he was denied entry into the U.S. at an Orlando, Florida, airport a month before the attacks. He was captured by Pakistani forces in December 2001 and taken to Guantanamo, where he remains.

The Center for Constitutional Rights sued the departments of Defense and Justice and the CIA in 2012, saying the release of videotapes and photographs of his interrogation and confinement would serve the public interest. The group has accused FBI and military personnel of subjecting al-Qahtani to isolation and aggressive interrogation techniques in 2002, including the use of a snarling dog, stripping him naked in the presence of a woman and repeatedly pouring water on his head.

Court halts ridesharing service Uber in Germany

A court has barred ridesharing service Uber from operating in Germany, the latest shot in the popular app's fight with taxi drivers worldwide.

Frankfurt state court spokesman Arne Hasse said Tuesday the decision that Uber can't offer its services without a specific permit under German transport laws applies nationwide.

The injunction applies pending a full hearing of a suit brought against Uber by Taxi Deutschland, a German cab association that also offers its own taxi-ordering app. The suit is being heard in Frankfurt because it is one of the several German cities in which Uber operates.

San Francisco-based Uber said in a statement it would use "all legal means" to fight the case.

"It's never a good idea to limit people's choices," Uber said. "We believe that innovation and competition is good for everyone — it profits both drivers and passengers."

The ruling comes after Berlin authorities last month barred Uber from operating in the capital because of safety concerns.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

South Carolina Episcopalians take fight to court

About 50 conservative Episcopal churches in South Carolina are in court this week, trying to keep their name, seal and $500 million in land and buildings after they broke away from the national denomination in a wide-ranging theological dispute.

The breakaway group, the Diocese of South Carolina, said it had to leave the national church not just because of the ordination of gays, but a series of decisions it says show national Episcopalians have lost their way in the teachings of Jesus and salvation.

The national church argues the split wasn't properly made, and it is fighting for the 20 or so churches in South Carolina staying under its umbrella.

Property disputes in the Episcopal Church and other Protestant churches have been going on for decades and end with varying results.

In March, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to intervene in a dispute between the Episcopal Church and a conservative northern Virginia congregation that left the denomination in a rift over homosexuality and other issues. The court left in place a judge's decision siding with the national church, ending a seven-year fight over a church that traces its roots back to George Washington.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Suspect sought for death penalty appears in court

The suspect accused of kidnapping and killing a 15-year-old girl in Northern California has appeared in court for the first time since prosecutors say they are seeking the death penalty against him.

KTVU-TV reports that Antolin Garcia-Torres made a brief appearance in a Santa Clara County courtroom in San Jose on Friday.

It was the his first time since District Attorney Jeff Rosen announced he was seeking capital punishment against Garcia-Torres in the disappearance of Sierra LaMar.

Garcia-Torres is accused of killing the Morgan Hill girl who vanished while on her way to school in March 2012. He was arrested two months later, after authorities say they found Sierra's DNA in his car and his DNA in her handbag.

Turkish court orders arrest of Israeli commanders

A Turkish court on Monday ordered the arrests of four former Israeli military commanders being tried in absentia over the killing of nine people aboard a Turkish aid ship that tried to break a Gaza blockade in 2010, Turkey's state-run news agency reported.

The court in Istanbul ruled that authorities must seek an international warrant for Israel's former military chief Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and three other former commanders, the Anadolu Agency reported. Trial was then adjourned until Dec. 9.

Turkish prosecutors are seeking life in prison for the officers. It was unlikely however, that Israel would ever extradite the four to Turkey.

The court's decision, meanwhile, comes despite signs that Turkey and Israel could be close to ending a four-year rift over the deaths.

Turkish officials have said that the two countries are close to sealing a reconciliation pact, while in March, Israel agreed to ease its blockade to allow building materials into the Gaza Strip for the construction of a Turkish hospital.

The reconciliation deal would lead to compensation for the families of the victims and for court cases against Israel over the raid to be dropped.