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France

Man given suspended sentence for tearing niqab off woman in west France

media A woman wearing the niqab Reuters/Phil Noble

A court in the French city of Nantes has found an unemployed man guilty of religious violence for having torn off a woman’s all-covering Islamic veil. He said he was trying to enforce the 2010 anti-burqa law.

The 30-year-old man was given a five-month suspended sentence and ordered to
compensate the victim after the court found that the woman had suffered serious violence, leading to three days off work.

He had torn a niqab, the garment that covers everything but the wearer's eyes, off the woman at a fairground in Nantes, in Brittany, in September 2012.

“Ordinary citizens are not entitled to make the law themselves,” the judgement declared, referring to the man’s claim when he was arrested that he was trying to enforce the 2010 law that banned most face-covering garments being worn in public.

The defendant was also found guilty of declaring a false identity to police when they arrived at the scene of the incident.

The man pleaded guilty and apologised for what he had done, according to his lawyer.
 

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