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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Remove the Veil or Go to Jail

Yesterday, some of the world's toughest burqa laws were announced in NSW after Carnita Matthews refused to remove her niqab when her car was pulled over by police. Her conviction for making a false statement against a police officer was overturned by a judge who found he could not say beyond reasonable doubt, that it really was Carnita Matthews behind the veil. When the new law is introduced, if a woman defies police and refuses to remove her veil for identification, she can be jailed up to 5 years or fined $5,500.

Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione called on the government to close the legal loophole preventing officers from identifying suspected criminals. Premier Barry O'Farrell said yesterday "I don't care whether a person is wearing a motorcycle helmet, a burqa, a niqab, face veil or anything else, the police should be allowed to require those people to make their identification clear" he said. The law will be introduced when parliament resumes in August.

It's rather ironic that if this woman at the centre of the case had not lied in the first place about the police officer trying to pull her veil off, none of this would have happened.