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Oz school director fraud trial: Prosecution witness seeks to wear 'burka' in court

Canberra , Fri, 06 Aug 2010 ANI

Canberra, August 6 (ANI): A Muslim woman who is a witness for the prosecution in fraud trial of a school director Anwar Sayed, has urged a Perth district court that she be allowed to wear a 'burka' while giving testimony.


"Tasneem, wants to testify, but would feel uncomfortable without her burka and that could prejudice the way she presented her evidence. It goes beyond stress. It would have a negative impact," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted prosecutor Mark Ritter, as saying in the court.


"Tasneem, who has lived in Australia seven years, has worn the burka since she was 17, and usually only took it off for her family," he added.


The case has been overshadowed by the niqab issue amid concerns raised in Perth's District Court during legal argument about whether a prosecution witness could wear her burqa while giving evidence.


Earlier, District Court Judge Shauna Deane heard lawyers' submissions, which claimed that in Islamic courts, women have to remove their burkas.


Tasneem, however, has opposed it calling it irrelevant, as the matter was not being heard in an Islamic court. She further said that she does not think her decision would set an Australian court precedent on the burqa.


Meanwhile, Sayed, who was accused of defrauding the Australian and Western Australian governments of over 750,000 dollars by artificially inflating student numbers at the Muslim Ladies College in Kenwick, was stabbed in the chest and face after his car was stopped in Perth today, his lawyer Mark Trowell claimed.


Police spokesman Samuel Dinnison, however, played the incident down saying the victim had only suffered "minor injuries or a scratch". (ANI)


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