France: A woman sentenced for refusing to remove her veil

Fully veiled, a woman arrested by the police refused to remove her veil.

She was sentenced to three months in prison but she challenges the court’s decision and appeals.

The woman refused to reveal her face at the request of the police during a check. She is dressed in niqab, this veil that covers the whole body except the eyes.

On Thursday, May 17, the Toulouse Criminal Court sentenced the woman to six months in prison, three of which were suspended. The information was brought to the press by the lawyer of this fervent Muslim, Samim Bolaky.

The accused’s lawyer had at the requested trial an additional information “we believe that elements have not been taken into account”. Indeed, according to the video of the arrest, the young woman was “dragged by the feet in the van police,” says the lawyer.

On the France3 channel, the convict defended herself: “I am extremely angry (…), I have a clean criminal record. I have been singled out for my veil, which remains a freedom to practice religious worship,” she said.

The lawyer has had the bailiff record videos of this arrest, he assured AFP. According to him, his client “was dragged by feet in the police van”, while the police officers, against whom a complaint was filed according to Mr. Bolaky, affirmed that they “carried her”.

The accusations against the young woman on Thursday are: Rebellion, contempt and death threats on anyone who is the depositary of public authority. As soon as the verdict was announced, she immediately appealed. The judges reproach the young woman “the concealment of the face in a public space,” which is perceived as a crime in France.

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