Woman wearing burka expelled from national court

A witness called before the National Court in Spain has been expelled from the court after she refused to lift or remove her burka. The woman, the sister of an Islamic radical killed in a suicide bombing in 2005, was called as a witness in a case where nine alleged Islamists were in the dock, facing allegations of sending Mujahidin to carry out suicide attacks in Iraq. She explained that her religion forbade her from appearing in public without her burka.

Judge Javier Gómez Bermúdez expelled her from the court, but the two later reached a compromise, AFP reports. She agreed to testify on Monday without the part of her burka which normally covers the face “between the chin and the eyebrows” and with her back turned to the public in the courtroom.

The judge commented that “seeing her face I can see if she is lying or not, or if any question surprises her or not”. He said that he did not want to charge her with disobedience, but underlined that religious beliefs cannot be above civil law.