French top court overturns burkini ban

Posted at 6:32 AM, Aug 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-26 12:49:53-04

PARIS (AP) — The Latest on the ruling by France's top administrative court on burkini bans (all times local):

3:10 p.m.

France's top administrative court has overturned a town burkini ban amid shock and anger worldwide after some Muslim women were ordered to remove body-concealing garments on French Riviera beaches.


The ruling by the Council of State Friday specifically concerns a ban in the Riviera town of Villeneuve-Loubet, but the binding decision is expected to set a legal precedent for all the 30 or so French resort municipalities that have issued similar decrees.

Lawyers for two human rights groups challenged the legality of the ban to the top court, saying the orders infringe basic freedoms and that mayors have overstepped their powers by telling women what to wear on beaches.

Mayors had cited concern about public order after deadly Islamic extremist attacks this summer, and many officials have argued that burkinis oppress women.

Lawyer Patrice Spinosi, representing the Human Rights League, told reporters that the decision should set a precedent, and that other mayors should conform to it. He also said women who have already received fines can protest them based on Friday's decision.


10:05 a.m.

France's highest administrative court is considering whether it's legal for towns to ban body-covering burkini swimsuits, which have become a symbol of tensions around the place of Islam in secular France.

After human rights groups challenged a local burkini ban, the Council of State is scheduled to issue a ruling Friday afternoon.

At a hearing Thursday, lawyers for the rights groups argued that the bans are feeding fear and infringe on basic freedom. Mayors who have banned burkinis cite concern about public order after deadly Islamic extremist attacks this summer, and many officials argue that burkinis oppress women.

The bans have divided France's government and society and drawn anger abroad, especially after images circulated online showing police appearing to force a Muslim woman to take off her tunic.