A Kanta-Häme district court that dropped charges against seven police officials and security guards for forcibly removing in 2017 two Muslim women’s hijabs will not be treated by the court in what remains of the year but in 2023, according to prosecutor Heidi Savurinne.
The case is significant from the view of religious freedom and equality before the law. Why are asylum seekers forced to remove their hijabs for police photos if those with residence permits don’t have to? As long as a woman’s face isn’t covered, EU law allows women to use the hijab for a passport picture.
While I believe the court should treat the case factors like religious freedom and equality before the law, Savurinne sees it from a different perspective.
“As a prosecutor, I look at the case from a legal point of view, and the important thing is that the Court of Appeal will decide whether the police had the right to use force and whether the use of force was following the law,” she said. “If not, it [the court] will have to determine whether there was a breach of duty and possibly assault [committed by the acquitted suspects]. Assault is punishable only if committed intentionally, but misconduct can also be committed through negligence, in which case the offense is negligent misconduct.”
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