Court: OC Jailers Erred in Removal of Muslim's Headscarf

The panel reinstated a civil rights lawsuit filed against the county

Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011  |  Updated 11:45 AM PDT
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Court: Jailers Erred in Headscarf Case

AP

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A federal appeals court ruled that Orange County jailers violated the religious freedom rights of a Muslim woman who was ordered to take off her headscarf in a courthouse holding cell.

An 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously reinstated a civil rights lawsuit filed by Souhair Khatib in 2007 against the county.

Khatib was jailed for several hours in November 2006 after a judge revoked her probation from a misdemeanor welfare fraud conviction. Probation was reinstated the same day and Khatib was released.

A trial court judge and a three-judge appeals court panel previously dismissed the lawsuit, saying that holding cells aren't covered by a federal law protecting inmates' religious practices. But the 11 judges rejected that argument Tuesday and ordered Khatib's lawsuit to proceed.
       

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