French judge hands Muslim man at centre of burqa controversy preliminary charges

A French judge has filed preliminary charges of fraud against an Algerian-born man who spoke out after his companion, wearing a burqa, was cited for driving while her vision was hindered. The preliminary charges against Lies Hebbadj, including fraud, didn’t stem directly from the traffic citation but from an investigation that followed.

After his companion was cited in April 2010 for driving while wearing apparel that hindered her vision, Hebbadj spoke out publicly in her defence. It then emerged that he was suspected of polygamy, with France’s interior minister suggesting he had four wives. The judge did not file preliminary polygamy charges against Hebbadj, but charged him with collecting too much money in state aid to single parents. Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux insisted that in reality Hebbadj was living in a polygamous state, even if he wasn’t legally married to all four women, and called for his citizenship to be stripped.