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United Arab Emirates: Good Samaritan Pays Blood Money to Save Young Men from Execution

(June 15, 2017) An appeals court in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, issued a decision on May 25, 2017, absolving ten young Indian men from Punjab of the murder of a Pakistani fellow worker. The men were pardoned after a Dubai-based businessman paid blood money to the victim’s father.  (Anju Agnihotri Chaba, Back from Death […]

Saudi Arabia: Shura Council Denies Social Media Reports on Resolution to Allow Women to Drive

(June 7, 2017) The official spokesman of Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council has denied social media reports that went viral at the end of March claiming that the Council was forwarding a resolution to the Council of Ministers seeking approval for the country’s women to drive. (Tariq A. Al-Maeena, Getting Behind the Wheel in Saudi Arabia, […]

Georgia, Kyrgyzstan: Marriages of Minors Prohibited

(May 9, 2017) As of January 1, 2017, article 15073 of the Civil Code of Georgia, which had temporarily allowed marriages of minors, became obsolete.  (Law No. 4646 of December 16, 2016 on Amending the Civil Code of Georgia, MATSNE.GOV.GE (official publication) (in Georgian).)  The article was a transitory provision that had remained in effect […]

Israel: Rabbinical Courts May Recommend Social Religious Sanctions Against Husbands Who Refuse to Divorce

(May 2, 2017) On February 28, 2017, Israel’s Supreme Court, sitting as a High Court of Justice, in a five-to-two decision, rejected an appeal lodged by two Jewish husbands against (separate) rulings by rabbinical courts to subject the men to the application of 12th century social/religious sanctions not expressly authorized under Israeli law.  (HCJ 5185/13 […]

Israel: Supreme Court Prohibits Third Party Appeal over Legitimacy of Divorce

(Apr. 28, 2017) On March 30, 2017, Israel’s Supreme Court, sitting as a High Court of Justice, accepted an appeal against a Rabbinical Court of Appeals decision to review an appeal submitted by an unrelated third party against the legitimacy of a get (Jewish divorce document) recognized by the regional rabbinical court. (HJC 9261/16 Anonymous […]

Indonesia: Rule of Law Reform Proposed

(Dec. 6, 2016) On October 11, 2016, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo announced an overhaul of the legal system, with the aim of ending corruption and improving rule of law.  He called for far-reaching legal reform to improve service to the public and reduce distrust.  He also said that a strong legal system is “crucial for […]

Japan: Emperor Akihito Announces Intention to Abdicate

(July 14, 2016) It was reported on July 13, 2016, that Emperor Akihito of Japan intends to abdicate the throne in favor of his first son, Crown Prince Naruhito.  (Emperor Expressed His Intention to ‘Abdicate,’ NHK News Web (July 13, 2016) (in Japanese).)  As there is no provision on abdication in the Imperial House Act, […]

Brunei: Islamic Law Adopted

(May 6, 2014) On April 30, 2014, the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, announced that Sharia (Islamic) penal law would become effective in the country on May 1, under the Shari’ah Penal Code Order, 2013. In addition to this Order, amendments have been made to three other laws, the Islamic Religious Council Act, the Shari’ah […]

Mali: Sharia Law Imposed in North

(Aug. 14, 2012) Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith) and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) have occupied northern Mali, controlling about 60% of the country, since late March 2012. These two armed groups have as a goal the imposition of Sharia (Islamic law) throughout the country. (Forcing Sharia Law in Mali, […]

Papua New Guinea: Controversial Law Stayed After UN Official Expressed Concerns

(May 1, 2012) On April 27, 2012, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, expressed concern about trends in the governance of Papua New Guinea (PNG), stating that “Papua New Guinea is on a slippery path to upending the constitutional order and undermining the rule of law.” (Papua New Guinea on 'Slippery […]