On October 29, 2009, a lawyer Zoubida Edidi Barik, of Moroccan origin with Spanish nationality, took a seat on the bench of the courtroom of the Court, next to defense counsel. As required, she wore the toga. But she was also carrying the Islamic headscarf (hijab), which did not hide her face. Early in the session of the trial, Javier Gomez Bermudez, President of the Court ordered Barik to leave the bar and, if she would like to follow the appointment she would have to go sit in the audience. The decision was appealed belonging now the last word to the Constitutional Court
A lawyer of Moroccon origin, Oubida Barik, presented an administrative appeal against the president of the Criminal Division, Javier Gomez Bermudez because he wouldn’t allow her to remain in the courtroom while wearing her Islamic headscarf or hijab.
The lawyer was wearing her gown and hijab while sitting on the lawyers bench helping a colleague, the lawyer Salellas Benet, in the defense in a trial for Islamist terrorism.
Gomez Bermudez, applying his powers as president of organization of the trial, ordered Barik to take off the headscarf, but as she refused, he invited her to sit in the audience or leave the room.
The General Council of the Judiciary will decide on the legality of this practice.
A Muslim lawyer has protested after being excluded from court for refusing to lift her veil. The General Council of the Judiciary, which supervises the Spanish court system, says it has opened a preliminary probe of the complaint from attorney Zoubida Barik Edidi. Edidi, a Spaniard of Moroccan origin, was attending a trial in the National Court in Madrid when Judge Javier Gomez Bermudez asked her to leave because she refused to raise the veil. She was there accompanying a colleague acting as defense attorney, but was not formally part of the defense team, wearing her lawyer’s robes and a veil. She left the courtroom, but then filed a complaint with the body that oversees the judiciary in Spain, citing “discrimination” and “abuse of power.”
Fatima Hssini, who was expelled from a Spanish courtroom last month when she refused to lift her burka, has testified with her veil raised and her back to the public audience. Speaking to journalists as she arrived to give her testimony Monday morning, Hssini said the controversy which arose after the interview last week was due to ignorance. Wearing the burka is seen as much more normal, she said, in other European countries than it is in Spain.
Hssini testified as a witness at the trial in the National Court for nine people charged with recruiting and sending Mujahedeen to carry out suicide attacks in Iraq. Hssini, the sister of one of those who died, was originally in court last Wednesday but was expelled by Judge Javier Gomez Bermudez after refusing to lift her burka.