Guilty Although Proven Innocent

12trfs8turbandec_1.jpg Photo from Taraf

The Ankara Bar Association has decided to discipline 17 female lawyers who wear headscarves for voting in the Bar Association elections, even though they broke no law, and even though the Bar General Institution issued a decision that covering their heads in private broke no laws. Turkish lawyers who veil generally do not appear in court themselves, where covering the head would be illegal, but send a proxy. The reason given by the Bar Association for punishing the lawyers although they broke no laws: It’s against laicism. (Turkey’s strict government-run control of religion, that is more severe than secularism, i.e. separating religion and state.) This was the same justification the Constitutional Court used to try to close down the AKP, even though the indictment did not point to any law being broken by the party. It’s against laicism” has become the all-purpose justification for court decisions to find guilt despite the law. (click for article in Turkish)

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