14/12/2021

Malta to legalise cannabis for personal use in European first

Malta will become the first European country to legalise the cultivation and possession of cannabis for personal use, pipping Luxembourg to the post, as the continent undergoes a wave of change to its drug laws. Possession of up to seven grams of the drug will be legal for those aged 18 and above.

Source: The Guardian

14/12/2021

Russia blocks access to popular anonymous online service

Russia has blocked the popular Tor network that allows users to remain anonymous online. The authority said the move followed the "dissemination of information on the site ensuring the operation of services that provide access to illegal content". The Kremlin says their efforts are to combat online extremism and terrorism, but critics say that Russia is stifling free speech and attempting to control political debate.

Source: Euronews

14/12/2021

ECHR finds Azerbaijan guilty of unlawful refusal to provide access to public-interest information

For the first time, the European Court of Human Rights recognised the violation of the right to information in Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani government was once again ordered to pay compensation to the plaintiff. The victim was a journalist who tried to find out the results of the work of the state commission and assess harm caused to the local environment and population by a radar station.

Source: Jam News

14/12/2021

Legal challenge seeks to end UK’s jailing of asylum seekers who steer boats

The UK government is facing a major legal challenge against its policy of prosecuting asylum seekers who steer boats across the Channel under smuggling laws. Despite this guidance advising that passengers – even those who take a turn steering – are potentially vulnerable asylum seekers who should not be prosecuted, prosecutions have continued. Lawyers for several individuals jailed on smuggling charges will put their cases at the court of appeal, arguing that they were attempting to be rescued at sea so they could claim asylum.

Source: The Guardian

20/12/2021

Galina Arapova: “People have little to no understanding of what independent journalism is and how it should function in a normal society”

In a special interview for Legal Dialogue, journalist Vladimir Shvedov asks lawyer and head of the Mass Media Defence Centre Galina Arapova about her vision of the present and future of Russian journalism, IT giants' policies concerning freedom of speech, and whether the “foreign agents" law can be improved.
17/01/2022

Language law for national print media comes into force in Ukraine

A language law came into force in Ukraine on 16 January that requires all national print media to be published in the country’s official language, Ukrainian, in a bid to push back against the use of the Russian language in the public sphere.

Source: Radio Liberty

17/01/2022

German court finds Syrian colonel guilty of crimes against humanity

A German court has sentenced a Syrian colonel to life in prison for crimes against humanity. Anwar Raslan, 58, was linked to the torture of over 4,000 people in Syria's civil war in a jail known as "Hell on Earth". The trial in Koblenz is the world's first criminal case brought over state-led torture in Syria.

Source: BBC

17/01/2022

Russia has started issuing ‘non-citizen passports’

According to the Interior Ministry, there are an estimated 4,500 stateless persons living in Russia today. Each of these people are eligible for a green “Temporary identity card of a stateless person in the Russian Federation.” Authorities in Moscow began issuing “non-citizen passports” in December 2021. Other Russian regions began issuing these identity documents even earlier, with roughly 600 people obtaining them last year.

Source: Meduza

17/01/2022

Activists behind Shell climate verdict target 30 multinationals

The Dutch wing of environmental group Friends of the Earth, which won a landmark court case against Royal Dutch Shell last year, demanded 30 corporations publish plans for big cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: Reuters