Thursday, 24 September 2009

Religious beliefs cannot be above civil law


witness called before the National Court in Spain on Wednesday in a case where nine alleged Islamists were in the dock, facing allegations of sending Mujahidin to carry out suicide attacks in Iraq, has been expelled from the court by Judge Javier Gómez Bermúdez, after she refused to lift or remove her burka.Before expelling her from the chamber the judge explained that in Spanish courts it is obligatory to declare with the face uncovered, and at the end of the session he called her to his office, with the prosecutor, Dolores Delgado. After some debate the witness has agreed to attend the court again on Monday, wearing her burka, but lifting it to show her face to the judge, but with no cameras and no public.The woman is the sister of Hassan Hssisni, a suicide bomber who carried out his attack in Iraq in January 2005.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.

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