Exclusive News– France’s highest administrative court has suspended a ban on full-body “burkini” swimsuits that was imposed in a town on the Mediterranean coast.
The ban in Villeneuve-Loubet
“seriously and clearly illegally breached fundamental freedoms”,
it found, including freedom of belief.
The ruling could set a precedent for up to 30 other towns that imposed bans on their beaches, chiefly on the Riviera.
The court will make a final decision on the legality of the bans later.
Correspondents in France say the court’s decision means that all the bans on burkinis are likely now to be overturned but one mayor in Corsica has already vowed to keep the ban in place on his town beach.
A human rights group, the Human Rights League (LDH), and an anti-Islamophobia association (CCIF), brought the ban in Villeneuve-Loubet to the court’s attention.
Patrice Spinosi, a lawyer for the LDH, said outside court that people who had been fined could claim their money back.
But the town’s mayor, Lionnel Luca, said:
“We need to decide if we want a smiley, friendly version of sharia law on our beaches or if we want the rules of the [French] Republic to be implemented.”