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Fine Points of the Law


March 18th, 2010

Human Rights Law: Iraqi immigrant Laith Alani murdered two doctors in a British hospital in 1990 and has been confined to mental facilities ever since, taking clozapine to control his schizophreni...

Human Rights Law: Iraqi immigrant Laith Alani murdered two doctors in a British hospital in 1990 and has been confined to mental facilities ever since, taking clozapine to control his schizophrenia. Since Alani is not a citizen, the government has sought deportation, but in January the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal ruled that that would violate Alani's "human rights." Only the British hospitals, reasoned the judges, can guarantee that Alani will receive uninterrupted clozapine, without which he would become dangerous to himself and to others (that is, fellow Iraqis, after repatriation).

Orthodox Jewish Law: Israel Elias and his then-wife Susan Zirkin were divorced under British law in 1962, but Zirkin has been unable to remarry since then because Orthodox Jewish law does not recognize divorce unless the husband grants the wife a "get," and Elias has refused. Within the Orthodox community, Zirkin would have been shunned had she remarried, as would any children she had. A few rabbis try to work around the system, but their attempts are not widely accepted. Zirkin, now 73, was believed to be the world's longest-standing "chained" wife, but in February, after 37 years, she became a free woman. Elias passed away, and the "get" is no longer necessary.
 
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