France arrests Muslim cleric promoting wife-beating

5th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

LYON, France, Oct 5 (AFP) - French authorities arrested an Algerian cleric for deportation Tuesday after a court ruled he can be thrown out of the country for publicly defending wife-beating.

LYON, France, Oct 5 (AFP) - French authorities arrested an Algerian cleric for deportation Tuesday after a court ruled he can be thrown out of the country for publicly defending wife-beating.  

Police arrested Abdelkader Bouziane at his home in the eastern city of Lyon and took him to a special airport detention centre pending his deportation to Algeria, officials said.  

Bouziane's lawyer, Mahmoud Hebia, confirmed the arrest and said his client may be flown out of France within hours, on board a scheduled flight from Lyon to Algiers.  

The cleric's detention came the day after France's top administrative court overturned a previous ruling suspending an expulsion order against Bouziane that had been issued by the interior ministry.  

The action against Bouziane, 53, was prompted by an interview he gave the April issue of a local Lyon magazine in which he said wife-beating was authorised by the Koran, announced his polygamy and expressed the wish that "the entire world become Muslim."  

The interior ministry, enacting a new directive aimed at stamping out Islamic fundamentalism among France's five-million-strong Muslim population, had him deported within three weeks of the interview's publication.  

Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin said at the time the ruling was justified because Bouziane, who was then in charge of a mosque in a Lyon suburb, "belonged to a movement whose extremist elements justified terrorism" and that the deportation order was initially authorised in February on those grounds.  

Bouziane, the father of 16 children, all of whom hold French nationality, was deported to Algeria on April 21 and saw his French resident's permit confiscated.  

But he returned within weeks, after a French tribunal ruled the expulsion illegal because Bouziane was never charged with a crime and not allowed to defend himself.  

In June he was put under judicial investigation, one step short of formal charges, for "justification of a crime and direct provocation" as the interior ministry appealed the decision to France's top administrative court, the State Council.  

"The State Council has clearly stated the law. The ministry's order has had its legal validity restored. The imam (cleric) will thus be taken out of the country under deportation procedures," regional authorities in Lyon said in a statement.  

Hebia said his client had offered no opposition to police and that he had had time to pack his personal effects.  

He added that he would see the cleric later in the day, and reiterated that Bouziane denied the accusations that he links to terrorists.

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

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