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Turkish lawyer charged with shooting judge disrupts trial as proceedings begin

[JURIST] Turkish lawyer Alpaslan Aslan, on trial for the murder of a Turkish judge [JURIST report], caused a courtroom commotion Friday when, during the opening of his trial, his request to leave court to pray was denied, and he was forcibly restrained by courtroom guards when he attempted to leave. The prosecution has requested four consecutive life sentences for Aslan, who is accused, along with eight co-defendants, of shooting five judges in May, leaving one dead.

Aslan allegedly disagreed with a February ruling [JURIST report], made by the court where the five judges presided, to permit a school to deny a teacher a promotion because she wore a religious headscarf. The shootings immediately prompted widespread protests in Turkey [JURIST report] showing public dismay over the violence. Religious dress [JURIST news archive] has been a controversial issue in Turkey, with the Islamic-oriented ruling Justice and Development Party [party website in Turkish] demanding that the ban on women wearing headscarves in schools and other public accommodations be lifted while the courts and the military, harking back to secularist policies [backgrounder] set in the era of state founder Kemal Ataturk [profile], continue to restrict Islamic influence on the nation. BBC News has more.

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