Saturday, November 12, 2005

First Scarf Case in Strasbourg

First pronouncement of the European Court of Human Rights on a 'scarf case' in Turkey. The plaintiff, LEYLA ŞAHİN, was in 1998 a student of medicine. Back then, she had been expelled from the University because she was wearing a scarf. The ECHR argued that the ban of the scarf can be justified in a democratic society such as Turkey.

The now Prime Minister, Erdogan, who leads a moderate religious party, immediately claimed that that decision only applies to the specific case in point. He reserves the possibility for his government to enact a law that makes it possible to wear a scarf in public places.

As this is the first pronouncement of the Strasbourg Court on the issue, it should be read very carefully as it could set standards to decide forthcoming cases such as those coming from France, and conderning the recent ban of the scarf in public places.

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