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.
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.