Local french court dismisses Burkini verdict

Published September 7th, 2016 - 02:00 GMT
Islamic dress is a hot-button issue in France, where the full-face veil is banned in public places. (AFP/Anoek De Groot)
Islamic dress is a hot-button issue in France, where the full-face veil is banned in public places. (AFP/Anoek De Groot)

A local court in the French Mediterranean island of Corsica has ruled in favor of banning the full-body swimwear worn by Muslim women despite a verdict by France’s highest court against such a ban.

The court in the town of Bastia on Tuesday ruled in favor of the mayor of Sisco, a city on the island, who had decided not to suspend the burkini ban — as ordered by the French Supreme Court for Administrative Justice — and referred the matter to the Bastia court to gain legal approval.

Last month, the French Supreme Court for Administrative Justice, also known as the Council of State, had ruled that bans on burkinis were not legal.

The Council of State ruled that such draconian measures forced upon women “breached the fundamental freedoms to come and go, the freedom of beliefs and individual freedom.”

More than a dozen French towns had imposed the ban before the ruling by the Council of State outlined the unlawfulness of the measure.

The debate over burkinis has turned into a legal ping-pong in France. The issue has split senior members of the French government into two camps as well.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve have taken sides with officials who have banned the burkini in more than a dozen French towns, while others have taken sides with Muslims and those in favor of women’s right to choose their clothing.

International rights groups have also sided with Muslim women in the dispute.

After the French Supreme Court overturned the ban, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s director for Europe, said the Council of State “has drawn an important line in the sand.”

“These bans do nothing to increase public safety but do a lot to promote public humiliation,” Dalhuisen said.


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