Netherlands: Lawyer may remain seated

Netherlands: Lawyer may remain seated

More on Enait here:
* Netherlands: Find another way to show respect
* Netherlands: More on respect
* Update on recent news
* Rotterdam: Lawyer may stay sitting

The Disciplinary Appeals Tribunal annulled the reprimand given by the Dutch bar disciplinary board to 'sitting lawyer' Mohammed Enait. Enait was reprimanded for not standing before the judges, for wearing a head covering and for showing contempt to a judge on a TV show.

It is customary for lawyers to stand when the judge enters the court, in order to show respect. Enait is an orthodox Muslims and says that due to his religious convictions, he doesn't want to stand. According to the Disciplinary Appeals Tribunal, while the judiciary should be respected, Enait should also have his 'sincere and authentic religious convictions' respected. In addition, the Disciplinary Appeals Tribunal says that Enait had no intention of contempt.

Enait is satisfied with the decision, which he says shows that the former decision of reprimanding him was a 'caravan of lame camels'. "Common sense finally won," according to the lawyer. He says that the dike has broken for lawyers who want to show respect in their own way.

The case started when the Dutch bar complained against Enait. Enait is now considering whether to take steps against the Rotterdam bar, for example - to sue for compensation for injuring his name and reputation. "But the most important thing I will do is to be a solid and robust lawyer, that is my primary aspiration."

A majority in parliament - including the CDA, PvdA and VVD parties - turned to justice minister Hirsch Ballin to pass legislation which would state how lawyers should act. The parliament thinks it's incomprehensible that the Disciplinary Appeals Tribunal annulled Enait's reprimand.

CDA parliament member Van Haersma Buma says "I think it's really shocking that the Disciplinary Appeals Tribunal puts the individuals opinions of such a man above the general rules we have in the Netherlands. It's absolutely nonsense that Islam expects that sort of things. That is a very extremely interpretation of this man. In my opinion he knows very well what is respectful in the Netherlands and what isn't. This is a wrong signal."

Meanwhile, on Friday Enait caused another stir when he left in the middle of an interview on the Pauw and Witteman show Friday (video here). Enait was upset at Jeroen Pauw, whom he said was too 'mono-cultural'.

Enait got irritated by Pauw's questions, on why he doesn't shake women's hands and why he covers his head. "Because the prophet Mohammed wore a cap you do that too?"

At one point he called Enait a provocateur, and then Enait went on the offensive, saying that Pauw lives has no idea what happens in this society and that is Pauw's problem. Before the broadcast Pauw told Enait that he doesn't believe in multicultural society. Enait called Pauw and Witteman 'elite-racists' and 'political agitators'.

Editor Herman Meijer thinks that Enait's departure was planned. Enait had been on the show twice before and though tempers had gotten high, he hadn't left the show like that. Meijer says he tried to convince Enait to come back and had a heated discussion with him outside on the street, but Enait refused, saying that he wasn't treated respectfully.

Sources: Telegraaf 1, 2, 3, 4 (Dutch), NIS News (English)

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