British minister: Islamic veil should be banned in courts

By REUTERS
November 3, 2013 21:10

 
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LONDON - Muslim women should be banned from wearing a veil when giving evidence in British courts, a cabinet minister in Prime Minister David Cameron's government said on Sunday, arguing it was hard to judge someone's testimony otherwise.

In comments likely to stir up an already emotive debate, Ken Clarke, a minister without portfolio who used to work as a criminal barrister, likened traditional female Islamic dress to being "in a kind of bag", and said he found it "a most peculiar costume for people to adopt in the 21st century."

"I think we do need a clear rule. I don't think a witness should be allowed to give evidence from behind a veil," Clarke, a former interior minister, told BBC radio.

"I can't see how on earth a judge and a jury can really appraise evidence when you're facing someone who is cloaked and is completely invisible to you. It's almost impossible to have a proper trial if one of the persons is in a kind of bag."

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