Muslim woman finally agrees to lift her veil in German racism trial but the judge sides with the defendant she says abused her
- Amira Behari finally lifted her veil to show her face in German racism trial
- She initially refused to at the State Court in Munich last year
- Testified against man who allegedly abused her in a train station
- Judge told her she must remove niqab or risk going to jail herself
- Despite showing her face, judge sided with man she said had abused her
A Muslim woman at the centre of a German racism trial finally agreed to lift her veil today – only to be told that the judge sided with the defendant who she claimed had abused her.
Amira Behari, 43, had previously refused to remove her niqab to testify in a Munich court.
But she was warned by the judge that if she did not do so, she would face time behind bars.
Ms Behari claimed that she had been shouted at in the city’s central train station, by the 59-year-old defendant identified only as Kai O.
She claimed the man shouted ‘you people are a***holes’ at her, before adding ‘you don’t belong here’.
Ms Behari initially refused to reveal her face at the State Court in Munich in November.
Judge Thomas Mueller said at the original hearing he wanted to see her face to ‘read her emotions’, adding: ‘I need to see you otherwise there will be considerable problems in adjudicating your case.’
Ms Behari refused, saying: ‘I have a God at the end of the world who will see me right at the end. I will not do this.’
In court she wore a niqab – like a burka with only a gap for the eyes – as well as gloves and a long leather coat.
Judge Mueller gave up and said he had no alternative but to find the accused not guilty.
But his decision enraged judges and prosecutors in Germany who appealed the decision and scheduled a retrial for this morning.
As Ms Behari arrived at the court today, accompanied by a police officer, she had her face and head covered.
Judge Claudia Bauer gave her the option of withdrawing her case, meaning she would not have had to reveal her face.
But Ms Behari rejected the suggesting, insisting ‘he attacked me’.
She then lifted her veil to show her face to Judge Bauer, while members of the public sitting behind her couldn’t see it.
When asked by the judge whether she is often insulted on the street, she replied: ‘Why does that matter to you?’
She then added that she is often spat at and attacked verbally.
However, the judge ultimately sided with the defendant and he was again acquitted.
If she had failed to remove her niqab today, she would have faced a fine or even time in jail.
The prosecutor’s office in Munich consulted with Koranic experts who said it was permissible for a woman to remove her niqab before the judicial authorities such as judges, police, prosecutors on the basis of needs and damage prevention.