Tag Archives: defendant rights

Does Muslim Woman Have Right To Niqab In Court?

A Canadian judge for the first time ruled that a Muslim woman could not wear a niqab in giving testimony concerning a sexual assault case since it violated the right of a defendant to face his accuser. The case pitted issues of religious freedom vs. against the rights of a defendant. The lawyer for the Muslim woman argued a sexual assault trial was traumatic and she had a right to feel comfortable which meant she had the right to wear her niqab. He noted, a court should “respect religious rights and practices that bring comfort to a witness.” She emphasized that showing her face to a man she would not marry made her feel uncomfortable.

The judge discovered the woman had a driver’s license in which she is not wearing a veil. it is difficult to forbid a person charged with sexual assault from not being able to see the face of the accuser. He also has rights to a fair trial and not allowing her face to be shown impairs his rights. If the woman was willing to show her face on a driver’s license it is difficult for her not to show it in a court of law.

Confession Time — Japanese Style

The United States government annual report on human rights conditions slammed the Japanese criminal coourt system because it tends to serve the interests of prosecutors rather than those of defendants. “Trial procedures favor the prosecution” said the report citing a case in Toyarna where a man confessed only to discover shortly after that someone else had committed the crime. The US State Department report noted even the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s office acknowledged “investigators sometimes placed too much emphasis on confessions. The law does not require full disclosure by prosecutors, and material the prosecution does not use in court may be suppressed. The legal representatives of some defendants claimed that they did not receive access to relevant material in he police record.”

There were also complaints about language barrier problems since there is a lack of sufficient interpreters. “Several foreign detainees claimed that police urged them to sign statements in Japanese that they could not read and that were not translated adequately.”

Many of the issues raised in the State Department report are also prevelant in the United States as witnessed by the growing number of cases revisited due to DNA evidence.