French law to target men who impose wearing of burqa

Friday, April 30, 2010

PARIS - The harshest penalties in the French draft bill to ban the Islamic all-body veil, or burqa, is to be imposed on men who force women to wear the garment, the daily Le Figaro reported Friday.

According to the draft of the law examined by the daily, anyone found guilty of forcing a woman to wear the burqa through “violence, threats, abuse of power or authority” faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of up to 15,000 euros ($20,000).

The law itself does not specifically target the burqa, but declares, “In any public area, no one may wear a garment intended to conceal his face”. Anyone convicted of beaking the law would be liable to a fine of up to 150 euros.

“For the sake of principle, we have opted for a total ban,” one of the drafters of the bill was quoted as saying. “But we have decided on mild sanctions because these women are often victims.”

The draft bill is to be presented to the cabinet May 19 and put before the National Assembly in July. Final passage of the bill is foreseen for September.

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