Pregnant Muslim ordered to remove veil in courtBy IANS
Saturday, October 9, 2010
LONDON - A British court asked a Muslim woman to remove burqa to show her facial expression while testifying against her husband in a physical abuse case.
Georgina Richards, 36, who is eight-month pregnant, reluctantly agreed when magistrates said they might not accept her evidence if they could not see her “facial expressions”, according to Daily Mail.
The case at Leicester Magistrates Court was held up for over an hour Thursday while magistrates agreed to hear her evidence from behind a screen.
Chairman of the bench Lawrence Faulkner told her: “We need to see a person’s facial expressions to assess the evidence they are giving. If you refuse to remove your veil, we may not be able to accept your evidence.”
Richards gave evidence against her ex-partner Ismail Mangera, 30, who is accused of punching Richards in the face.
After the hearing, Richards said: “I was a bit unhappy that he told me to take my veil off. They put screens up next to me but I didn’t really want to do it. But I thought the case would be dropped if I didn’t take it off.
“It just made me feel uncomfortable. They wanted to see the expression on my face but I don’t think it really matters, I think I could have done it with my veil on. Now I just feel relieved that I’ve said what I’ve got to say.”
Earlier, Richards told the court that her religion states she should not remove her veil in front of men in public.
The court heard that Mangera attacked Richards, mother to three of the couple’s children and pregnant with their fourth, between April 1 and April 30. Sentencing was deferred until Oct 20 to allow a probation report to be produced.