President Nayib Bukele’s Ministry of Health issued Executive Decree No. 32 last month. The decree dealt with health protocols to guarantee the right to health of people during the reactivation of the economy. It was passed to improve the poor economic state of affairs and aimed at reopening the economy in five phases.
The Court held that the decree was unconstitutional as it violated the fundamental rights of citizens. It observed that matters relating to the rights of citizens was not under the purview of the executive. The Chamber said, “Since there is no legislative decree that limits the exercise of demonstrations to the right to freedom and other fundamental rights, the Minister of Health has interfered in the competence that corresponds to the Legislative Assembly.” Judge Aldo Cáder also said, “No governing body, under any circumstances [can] invade the competence of another body.”
The Court nonetheless allowed the decree to be in force until August 23. It called for concerted efforts from the legislature and executive while formulating legislation to ensure the welfare of people.
Bukele wrote on Twitter that “[i]n all the countries of the world, governments are ordering reopening, gradually, to control the pandemic. In El Salvador, today that is also unconstitutional.”
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On July 30th, Hong Kong authorities barred Wong and 11 other pro-democracy activists from the elections, which were due to be held in September. Endorsing the decision of its returning officer, the Hong Kong government reiterated in a press release that
upholding the BL [Basic Law] is a fundamental constitutional duty of every LegCo [Legislative Council] Member. People having the following behaviours could not genuinely uphold the BL and could not therefore perform the duties of a LegCo Member, i.e. advocating or promoting Hong Kong independence, self-determination or changing the system of the HKSAR by supporting Hong Kong independence as an option for self-determination; soliciting intervention by foreign governments or political authorities in relation to the HKSAR’s affairs; expressing an objection in principle to the enactment of the National Security Law by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and its subsequent promulgation as a national law listed in Annex III to the BL; expressing an intention to exercise the functions of a LegCo Member by indiscriminately voting down any legislative proposals, appointments, funding applications and budgets introduced by the HKSAR Government after securing a majority in the LegCo so as to force the Government to accede to certain political demands; and refusal to recognise the PRC’s exercise of sovereignty over the HKSAR and the HKSAR’s constitutional status as a local administrative region of the PRC.
The polls have been postponed until September 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Security Law that was passed at the end of June has been heavily criticized for suppressing Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.
“The reason I apply for judicial review is to make clear that the power of the returning officer keeps enlarging, they are just (pursuing a) political mission,” Reuters quoted Wong as saying. If Wong’s challenge is endorsed by the courts, other disqualifications might be similar contested.
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The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled Friday that House committees can sue to enforce their subpoenas.
The ruling is the result of a lawsuit filed by the House Judiciary Committee against former White House counsel Donald McGahn. The Committee had subpoenaed McGahn’s testimony in April of 2019 as part of its inquiry into allegations that the Trump administration had interfered with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The administration had argued that senior staff were immune from such requests due to executive privilege, and McGahn had refused to testify. A three-judge panel of the DC Circuit had ruled against the Committee, finding that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case.
The House committee filed a petition for a rehearing en banc which was granted, and the full panel ruled 7-2 in favor of enforcing the subpoena. In its decision, the court found that “the ordinary and effective functioning of the Legislative Branch critically depends on the legislative prerogative to obtain information, and constitutional structure and historical practice support judicial enforcement of congressional subpoenas when necessary.”
Two judges on the court, Gregory Katsas and Neomi Rao, both Trump appointees, had recused themselves from the case, both having worked for the administration before they became judges; Katsas served as deputy White House counsel under McGahn. Two other judges, Thomas Griffith and Karen Henderson, were the majority in the three judge panel that had originally ruled against the Judiciary Committee, and both judges authored dissents in Friday’s ruling. Henderson warned that the decision “enlarges the Judiciary’s power to intervene in battles that should be waged between the Legislature and the Executive and opens the door to future disputes between the political branches,” while Griffith warned that the decision risked placing the Judiciary in the middle of fights between the Executive and the Legislative branches and degrade the impartiality of the courts.
The decision will not lead to McGahn’s testimony before the Committee any time soon, however; the court remanded other matters, including the issue of whether the court has subject matter jurisdiction, back to the three judge panel for adjudication.
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A Cape Verde court has approved the extradition of Columbian lawyer and businessman Alex Nain Saab Moran to the United States, where he faces charges for money laundering on behalf of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s government.
Saab was arrested on 12th June 2020 on the island of Sal in Cape Verde when he was en route from Venezuela to Iran. The Venezuelan government protested Saab’s arrest, stating that the Interpol arrest notice was issued after the arrest, violating international norms as he was acting as an agent of the government and was on a humanitarian mission to buy food and medical supplies.
João do Rosário, an attorney on Saab’s legal team, told VOA’s Portuguese service that while the Court made its decision Friday, Saab’s legal team was not informed about it until Monday evening. He said that the team was considering an appeal to Cape Verde’s Supreme Court, and if the appeal failed, the team would approach the Constitutional Court.
According to the US Justice Department, Saab was indicted in July 2019 in the US federal court in Miami for participation in an alleged bribery scheme in a low-income housing project for the Maduro Regime from 2011 to 2015. Saab is alleged to have used an elaborate network of bank accounts in Venezuela and the United States that allowed him and Maduro to profit from state-run food subsidy programs.
The Foshan Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Canadian citizen Ye Jianhui to death Friday for manufacturing and transporting drugs. It was the fourth death sentence imposed on a Canadian by a Chinese court since Meng Wanzhou, the Chief Financial Officer of Huawei Technologies Company, was arrested in Vancouver in 2018 on a US warrant.
The death penalty came just a day after another Canadian, Xu Weihong, was sentenced to death by the Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court for making drugs. According to a local report, police found 218 kilograms (481 pounds) of crystal methamphetamine and ecstasy in the room used by Ye and five other men. Among the five Chinese nationals, one of them has been sentenced to death while the others have been sentenced to imprisonment.
Wang Wenbing, the spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said “[d]rug-related crimes are considered serious crimes worldwide. Chinese law retains the death sentence and controls its application strictly.” He also said, “Chinese law stipulates that every criminal is equal in the application of the law and China’s judicial authorities handle cases involving criminals of different nationalities in accordance with the law.”
John Babcock, the spokesperson of the Canadian Foreign Ministry, said: “Canada requests clemency for all Canadian citizens who have been sentenced to death, and calls on China to grant clemency to Mr Xu.” While tensions between China and Canada over sentencing have risen since Meng’s arrest, China has denied that the cases are linked.
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