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  1. Human rights group Liberty has lost its latest High Court challenge against the Government’s mass surveillance powers. Liberty brought the challenge against parts of the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) – dubbed the “Snoopers’ Charter” by critics – which allow intelligence agencies to obtain and store communications data, and take remote control of electronic devices through “bulk hacking”. The group claimed the Government’s powers under IPA, which include the power to intercept the private information of the entire UK population, are too wide and therefore breach citizens’ human rights to privacy and freedom of expression. At the High Court in London on Monday, Lord Justice Singh and Mr Justice Holgate dismissed Liberty’s claim that IPA was incompatible with human rights law. Announcing the decision, Lord Justice Singh said the court rejected Liberty’s contention that IPA “does not contain sufficient safeguards against the risk of abuse of power”. The judge added that IPA included several “safeguards against the possible abuse of power” in response to concerns about the existence of the “bulk powers” provided for by the Act. Source
  2. NAHA – A high court on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling that found a prominent anti-U.S. military base activist in Okinawa guilty of several criminal offenses committed during protests in the island prefecture. Hiroji Yamashiro, 66, a key figure in the movement against the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Air Station Futenma within Okinawa, was given a two-year jail term, suspended for three years, in March for, among other things, obstructing base transfer work. Yamashiro, the head of the Okinawa Peace Action Center, was seeking to overturn the Naha District Court ruling but the Naha branch of the Fukuoka High Court rejected his appeal. The criminal trial of Yamashiro caught the public’s attention due to his months-long detention by authorities that prompted human rights groups to voice criticism of what they considered his unnecessary confinement. The March ruling found Yamashiro guilty of obstructing relocation work at U.S. Marine Corps’ Camp Schwab after he piled blocks at its gate in January 2016 and cut barbed wire at the site in October of the same year. He was also found guilty of injuring a local Japanese defense bureau official in August 2016 near a U.S. military training site in Higashi. “I find the decision unfair. We will face the biggest challenge yet from tomorrow but won’t give up,” said Yamashiro at a gathering after the high court ruling, referring to landfill work that the Japanese government plans to start Friday in the coastal district of Henoko, in the city of Nago, where the new base will be constructed. Yamashiro is considering an appeal. During the trial at the high court, the defense team said Yamashiro should be acquitted of all charges aside from the property damage caused when he cut the barbed wire. They said Yamashiro was merely “expressing his opposition under the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution” when he piled blocks at the gate of Camp Schwab and that applying the charge of obstruction of work would be unconstitutional. But the high court rejected their claim. “The blocks piled in front of the gate weighed about 20 tons in total. The construction work was unjustly disrupted beyond the scope of the freedom of expression,” presiding Judge Masamichi Okubo said. Many residents of Okinawa, which hosts the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan, want the Futenma base that is located in a crowded residential area of Ginowan moved out of the prefecture altogether, rather than transferred to Henoko. But the Japanese government under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has maintained the base relocation to Henoko is “the only solution” for removing the dangers posed by the base without undermining the deterrence provided by the Japan-U.S. security alliance. The government plans to start full-fledged land reclamation work on Friday for the construction of the controversial replacement facility. Source
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