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An Iranian citizen extradited from Indonesia was charged in a Sydney court on Thursday with attempting to smuggle 73 asylum seekers by boat to Australia.
 
Mohammad Naghi Karimi Azar, 56, on Wednesday became the eighth suspected people smuggler to be extradited from Indonesia to Australia since 2008, a government statement said.

Azar was charged in Sydney Central Local Court with 43 counts of people smuggling, an offense that carries a minimum five-year sentence and a maximum of 20 years.

He appeared by video from a Sydney police station.

Court documents allege Azar facilitated the passage of 73 men, women and children between 2011 and 2013. His lawyer, Archie Hallas, told the court that Azar had spent the last two and a half years in an Indonesian jail.

Azar did not apply for bail. Hallas told the court his client needed time to read the 100-page prosecution case against him. Azar is to appear in court next on Oct. 5.

Outside the court, another lawyer for Azar, Sayar Dehsabzi, told reporters his client intended to plead not guilty.

Dehsabzi said Azar told him he was a refugee registered with the United Nations and had fled Iran in fear of persecution because he was a member of an ethnic minority.



Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore on Wednesday insisted to members of a judiciary commission that he never urged probate judges to defy a U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage, defending himself from charges brought by a state ethics panel.

Testifying under oath, Moore called the accusations of him abusing his position "ridiculous."

The ethics case involves an administrative order Moore sent six months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gays can marry in every U.S. state. Moore said then that because the Alabama Supreme Court had not rescinded an order instructing judges to refuse marriage licenses to gay couples, the state's probate judges remained bound by it.


Supreme Court to hear 'swipe fees' case

  Business  -   POSTED: 2016/09/29 08:51

The Supreme Court will hear a dispute over state laws that prohibit merchants from imposing fees on customers who use credit cards. The justices said Thursday they will take up a case involving swipe fees that merchants must pay to the credit-card issuer each time a customer charges a purchase. The fees typically range from 2 percent to 3 percent.

Businesses in several states have challenged the laws as a violation of their free speech rights. The businesses say it's unfair that they can offer discounts to customers who pay cash, but they can't tell customers they're imposing a surcharge for using credit cards.

The federal appeals court in New York upheld the state's law. The Atlanta-based court of appeals struck down Florida's version of the same law.



India's Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that an Italian marine can stay in Italy while arbitration continues over the 2012 shooting deaths of two Indian fishermen in which he and another marine were implicated.

The court approved Massimiliano Latorre's request to stay in his homeland while an arbitration court in The Hague, Netherlands, decides which country has jurisdiction in the matter.

In Rome, the Italian foreign ministry expressed satisfaction with the Supreme Court ruling.

India has accused Latorre and fellow marine Salvatore Girone of killing the two fishermen in Indian waters while they were assigned to anti-piracy duties aboard an Italian commercial ship. Italy says the marines thought the fishermen were pirates and that the shooting took place in international waters.

Latorre has been in Italy since 2014 for medical treatment after suffering a stroke in India. Girone was allowed to return to Italy in May.

The case against the two marines has strained relations between Rome and New Delhi, with both disagreeing on the facts of the case and on which country has jurisdiction. Italy has also complained that in four years India has never formally charged the two with a crime.



An international court on Tuesday found a Muslim radical guilty of committing a war crime by overseeing the destruction of historic mausoleums in the Malian desert city of Timbuktu, and sentenced him to nine years in prison.

Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, a former teacher, had pleaded guilty and expressed remorse for his role in overseeing the destruction of nine mausoleums and a mosque door by pickax-wielding rebels in June and July of 2012.

His trial, which opened Aug. 22, was a landmark for the International Criminal Court, which has struggled to bring suspects to justice since its establishment in 2002. It was the tribunal's first conviction for destruction of religious buildings or historic monuments, and the first guilty verdict delivered against a Muslim extremist.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the court's ruling as "an important step forward in the fight against impunity in Mali," according to a statement released by Ban's spokesman.

Al-Qaida-linked rebels occupied the fabled Saharan city of Timbuktu in 2012 and enforced a strict interpretation of Islamic law that included destruction of the historic mud-brick tombs they considered idolatrous. Al Mahdi was leader of one of the "morality brigades" set up by Timbuktu's new rulers.

ICC prosecutors said Al Mahdi was a member of Ansar Eddine, an Islamic extremist group with links to al-Qaida that held power in northern Mali in 2012. The militants were driven out after nearly a year by French forces, which arrested Al Mahdi in 2014 in neighboring Niger.



A court is expected to hear arguments on whether New Orleans should be able to remove four Confederate monuments.
 
The case will be heard Wednesday by a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

The City Council voted in December 2015 to remove the monuments to Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and a statue honoring whites who tried to topple a biracial post-Civil War government in New Orleans.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu urged the monuments be removed after police said a white supremacist who posed with the Confederate battle flag for photos killed nine parishioners inside an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, last year.

But the decision to remove the monuments has been sharply controversial and led to an immediate court fight.



The federal appeals court in Washington began hearing oral arguments Tuesday in the legal fight over President Barack Obama's plan to curtail greenhouse gas emissions.

The Clean Power Plan, which aims to slow climate change by reducing power-plant emissions by one-third, has been challenged by more than two dozen mostly Republican-led states, including Texas, and allied business and industry groups tied to fossil fuels. The states deride the carbon-cutting plan unveiled by the Environmental Protection Agency as an "unlawful power grab" that will kill coal-mining jobs and drive up electricity costs.

The Supreme Court has delayed implementation until the legal challenges are resolved.

Implementation of the rules is considered essential to the United States meeting emissions-reduction targets in a global climate agreement signed in Paris last year. The Obama administration and environmental groups also say the plan will spur new clean-energy jobs.

Regardless of which side prevails at the appeals level, the issue is considered likely to end up being decided by the Supreme Court.


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