BLOCKED

09.16.13

Remove Veil Before Testifying: Judge

Muslim woman may keep covered, except when giving evidence.

A 22-year-old Muslim British woman on trial for intimidating a witness has refused to remove her niqab, shielding her face from all men in the courtroom. A judge ruled that she can wear the niqab, which covers everything except her eyes, while standing trial, but she must remove it when presenting evidence. Judge Peter Murphy says she will be given a screen to block her, but she must be seen by him, the jury, and lawyers. Murphy says that there was uncertainty about the issue, and he hoped that Parliament would issue a firm ruling on it soon. “The ability of the jury to see the defendant for the purposes of evaluating her evidence is crucial,” Murphy says. It’s unclear if the woman and her lawyer will appeal against the ruling.