Covered lawyer faces discrimination in court for second time

June 10, 2013 6:33 pm 0 comments Views: 320
Lawyer Zübeyde Kamalak was stopped by a judge from performing her job in the courtroom for the second time due to her headscarf during a hearing on Thursday, despite an earlier Council of State ruling allowing lawyers to wear the Islamic headscarf on the job.

The judge of the 11th Family Court in Ankara, Mustafa Kocadağ, postponed a case because of the presence of Kamalak, asking the lawyer’s client to find another lawyer in two weeks. He told Kamalak to either take off her headscarf to continue with the case or her client should find another lawyer without a headscarf.

Earlier, a judge in the 2nd Family Court in Ankara had postponed a trial citing the presence of Kamalak at a court session in late March. Judge İlhan Kadıoğlu ruled to postpone the trial, saying that lawyers cannot attend hearings with their headscarves on while actively practicing law, which he said is a public service.

Both moves were in defiance of a January ruling by the Council of State suspending the application of an article from the code of practice of the Turkish Bar Association (TBB) that bans female lawyers from wearing headscarves while practicing their profession.

After Thursday’s hearing, Kamalak’s husband, Felicity Party (SP) leader Mustafa Kamalak, a lawyer himself, was harassed by a group of lawyers during a protest by the Ankara Bar Association about the nationwide Gezi Park demonstrations. When Mustafa Kamalak wanted to talk about what his wife went through earlier in the day, several lawyers from the group reacted negatively and called him a “provocateur.”

After the protests against him, Mustafa Kamalak left the group and made a press statement in the area, saying that the judge’s treatment towards his wife and fellow headscarved lawyers is unacceptable. He said that basic rights and freedoms can only be limited by laws.

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