The trial of Habib Kazdaghli, dean of the University of Arts and Humanities in Manouba, was postponed to January 3, 2013 after today’s hearing at the Court of First Instance in Manouba. The dean stands accused of assaulting a student wearing the niqab last March.
Kazdaghli told Tunisia Live that the court set the date of December 15 as a deadline for attorneys to exchange documents and files containing evidence. “The pleading will start on January 3, and hopefully the verdict will be announced shortly after that,” he added.
Around 100 people gathered in front of the Court of First Instance in Manouba. Although the majority of the protesters were professors and scholars supporting Kazdaghli, about 20 protesters came to the scene of the
demonstration to show solidarity with the niqab-wearing girl, who filed the complaint against the dean.
Additionally, Tunisian radio Mosaique FM reported that about 50 members of the National Constituent Assembly signed a petition in order to support Kazdaghli in his case. The same source mentioned that none of the members, who signed the petition, belong to the ruling party of Ennahdha. In a previous interview with Tunisia Live, Kazdaghli stated that the Islamist government is influencing his trial.
The incident happened last March, following a series of protests and sit-ins against the ban on the niqab inside the university’s classrooms.