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France

Burka ban riots man jailed for three months

Strong police presence in the Paris suburb of Trappes in July 2013 AFP/Fred Dufour
Strong police presence in the Paris suburb of Trappes in July 2013 AFP/Fred Dufour AFP/Fred Dufour

A man whose arrest for assaulting a police officer sparked riots in a town near Paris was sentenced to three months in prison and a 1,000-euro fines on Friday. Michaël Khiri allegedly fought police when they  stopped and questioned his wife for wearing Islamic face-covering in public.

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Khiri's arrest in July sparked riots in the town of Trappes near Paris, when hundreds descended on the local police station in protest at the arrest.

 

Khiri and his family were on their way home to break fast during ramadan when a police officer stopped Khiri's wife, Cassandra Bélin, for wearing the full veil in public.

"My wife yelled 'Why are you doing this?' and the tone became heated," Khiri said.

One of the officers present at the hearing said that they had tried to carry out the identity check as calmly as possible.

Violations of France's controversial veil ban, in place since April 2011, are punishable by a fine of up to 150 euros or mandatory citizenship training.

"I don't see why this law, which is illegitimate, should be forced on us," Khiri said.

The court in Versailles has postponed Bélin's trial until 11 December in order to consider her defence team's claim that the charges against her are unconstitutional.

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