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LLP LEGAL NEWS


In a historic ruling, Panama’s Supreme Court this week declared that legislation granting a Canadian copper mine a 20-year concession was unconstitutional, a decision celebrated by thousands of Panamanians activists who had argued the project would damage a forested coastal area and threaten water supplies.

The mine, which will now close, has been an important economic engine for the country. But it also triggered massive protests that paralyzed the Central American nation for over a month, mobilizing a broad swath of Panamanian society, including Indigenous communities, who said the mine was destroying key ecosystems they depend on.

In the unanimous decision Tuesday, the high court highlighted those environmental and human rights concerns, and ruled the contract violated 25 articles of Panama’s constitution. Those include the right to live in a pollution-free environment, the obligation of the state to protect the health of minors and its commitment to promote the economic and political engagement of Indigenous and rural communities.

The ruling would lead to the closure of Minera Panama, the local subsidiary of Canada’s First Quantum Minerals and the largest open-pit copper mine in Central America, according to jurists and environmental activists.

The court said the government should no longer recognize the existence of the mine’s concession and Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo said “the transition process for an orderly and safe closure of the mine will begin.”

Analysts say it appears highly unlikely that Panama’s government and the mining company will pursue a new agreement based on the resounding rejection by Panamanians.

“There are sectors in the country that would like a new contract, but the population itself does not want more open-pit mining, the message was clear,” said Rolando Gordón, dean of the economics faculty at the state-run University of Panama. “What remains now is to reach an agreement to close the mine.”

Analysts say the mining company is free to pursue international arbitration to seek compensation for the closure based on commercial treaties signed between Panama and Canada. Before the ruling, the company said it had the right to take steps to protect its investment.

With the ruling, the Panamanian government and the mining company are headed for arbitration at the World Bank’s international center for arbitration of investment disputes, in Washington, said Rodrigo Noriega, a Panamanian jurist.

Marta Cornejo, one of the plaintiffs, said “we are not afraid of any arbitration claim” and that they are “capable of proving that the corrupt tried to sell our nation and that a transnational company went ahead, knowing that it violated all constitutional norms.”

In a statement after the verdict, the mining company said it had “operated consistently with transparency and strict adherence to Panamanian legislation.” It emphasized that the contract was the result of “a long and transparent negotiation process, with the objective of promoting mutual economic benefits, guaranteeing the protection of the environment.”

Cortizo, who had defended the contract arguing it would keep 9,387 direct jobs, more than what the mine reports, said that the closing of the mine must take place in a “responsible and participative” manner due to the impact it would have.

The company has said the mine generates 40,000 jobs, including 7,000 direct jobs, and that it contributes the equivalent of 5% of Panama’s GDP.

The court verdict and the eventual closure of the mine prompted more protests, this time by mine workers.



The actor Jonathan Majors appeared in court in New York on Wednesday for the start of jury selection in a trial in which he is accused of injuring his then-girlfriend during an argument last spring.

The trial could wind up playing a big role in what happens next with Majors, who had emerged as a breakout star with major roles in films including “ Creed III ” and who was being set up as the next great supervillain in the Marvel multiverse.

The 34-year-old actor entered a Manhattan courtroom alongside his current girlfriend, the actress Meagan Good, carrying a Bible and one of his signature coffee cups. He did not speak during the start of the proceeding.

Majors was arrested in March over a confrontation between the actor and Grace Jabbari, his girlfriend at the time, during a car ride in Manhattan. Prosecutors said Jabbari had grabbed a phone out of the actor’s hand after seeing a text, presumably from another woman, saying “Wish I was kissing you right now.” Majors tried to snatch the phone back.

Jabbari said the actor pulled her finger, twisted her arm behind her back and hit her face. After the couple’s driver stopped the car and the pair got out, Jabbari said Majors threw her back into the vehicle. Police said Jabbari was treated at a hospital for minor injuries.

Majors’ attorneys have maintained that Jabbari was the aggressor during the fight and had scratched and hit him. They alleged on Wednesday that police who responded to the scene did not interview Majors and that Manhattan prosecutors have refused to review evidence showing he was the victim.

Jabbari was also briefly arrested by New York City police last month after Majors filed a cross complaint against her, but the district attorney’s office dropped all charges against her the next day.

On Wednesday, the judge, Michael Gaffey, described the brief arrest of Jabbari as “very unusual,” suggesting that Majors’ celebrity status may have played a role in the police department’s decision to charge his accuser three months after the incident. Majors is charged with misdemeanors including assault and could be sentenced to up to a year in jail if convicted.




Six teenagers go on trial Monday in Paris for their alleged roles in the beheading of a teacher who showed caricatures of the prophet of Islam to his class, a killing that led authorities to reaffirm France’s cherished rights of expression and secularism.

Samuel Paty, a history and geography teacher, was killed on Oct. 16, 2020, near his school in a northwest Paris suburb by an 18-year-old of Chechen origin who had become radicalized. The attacker was in turn shot dead by police.

Paty’s name was disclosed on social media after a class debate on free expression during which he showed caricatures published by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which triggered a newsroom massacre by extremists in January 2015.

All hearings at a Paris juvenile court are to be held behind closed doors in accordance with French law regarding minors. The defendants arrived Monday morning at the Paris court, their faces hidden behind masks and hoods, accompanied by their families. The media are not allowed to disclose their identity.

Among those going on trial, a teenage girl, who was 13 at the time, is accused of making false allegations for wrongly saying that Paty had asked Muslim students to raise their hands and leave the classroom before he showed the cartoons. She later told investigators she had lied. She was not in the classroom that day and Paty did not make such a request, the investigation has shown.

Five other students of Paty’s school, then 14 and 15, are facing charges of criminal conspiracy with the aim of preparing aggravated violence to be committed.

They are accused of having waited for Paty for several hours until he left the school and of having identified him to the killer in exchange for promises of payments of 300-350 euros ($348-$406).




Thailand’s Cabinet on Tuesday approved an amendment to its civil code to allow same-sex marriage, with an expectation for the draft to be submitted to Parliament next month.

Karom Polpornklang, a deputy government spokesperson, said the amendment to the Civil and Commercial Code will change the words “men and women” and “husband and wife” to “individuals” and “marriage partners” for same-sex couples to be able to receive the same rights that heterosexual couples receive.

He said the law would guarantee the right to form a family in a relationship between same-sex couples, adding that the next step will be an amendment to the pension fund law to recognize same-sex couples as well.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin told reporters that the draft law is expected to be proposed to Parliament on Dec. 12. If it becomes law after Parliament’s approval and King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s endorsement, Thailand will be the third place in Asia, after Taiwan and Nepal, to allow same-sex marriage.

While famous for being an LGBTQ+ friendly country, Thailand has struggled to pass a marriage equality law. Parliament last year debated several legal amendments to allow either marriage equality or civil unions, which do not grant same-sex couples all the same rights as heterosexual couples. All of the bills failed to be passed before the parliamentary session of the previous government ended.

The new government led by the Pheu Thai party, which took office in August, revived the attempt to pass a marriage equality bill, which it had promised during its election campaign.



The man who bludgeoned former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer last year consumed a steady diet of right-wing conspiracy theories before an attack that took place with the midterm elections less than two weeks away.

As the 2024 presidential campaign heats up, experts on extremism fear the threat of politically motivated violence will intensify. From “Pizzagate” to QAnon and to “Stop the Steal,” conspiracy theories that demonized Donald Trump’s enemies are morphing and spreading as the front-runner for the 2024 Republican nomination aims for a return to the White House.

“No longer are these conspiracy theories and very divisive and vicious ideologies separated at the fringes,” said Jacob Ware, a research fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who focuses on domestic terrorism. “They’re now infiltrating American society on a massive scale.”

A federal jury on Thursday convicted David DePape of attacking Paul Pelosi at his San Francisco home on Oct. 28, 2022. Before the verdict, DePape testified that he had intended to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage and “break her kneecaps” if the Democratic lawmaker lied to him while he questioned her about what he viewed as government corruption. She was in Washington at the time of the assault.

In online rants before the attack, DePape echoed tenets of QAnon, a pro-Trump conspiracy theory that has been linked to killings and other crimes. A core belief for QAnon adherents is that Trump has tried to expose a Satan-worshipping, child sex trafficking cabal of prominent Democrats and Hollywood elites.

Trump has amplified social media accounts that promote QAnon, which grew from the far-right fringes of the internet to become a fixture of mainstream Republican politics.

Many rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, espoused QAnon’s apocalyptic beliefs online before traveling to the nation’s capital for Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally that day. A message board formerly known as TheDonald.win was buzzing with plans for violence days before the siege.


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