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Turkish lawyer sentenced to life in prison for murder of judge in headscarf ruling

[JURIST] A Turkish court sentenced a lawyer to life in prison Wednesday for the murder of Turkish Judge Mustafa Yucel Ozbilgin [JURIST report] in May 2006. Alparslan Arslan was accused of opening fire in Turkey's highest administrative court, the Council of State [official website], to protest a February 2006 ruling [JURIST report] by the court permitting a school to deny promotion to a teacher because she wore a religious headscarf. Arslan was also sentenced to two life sentences for attempting to overthrow the constitutional order and establishing an armed group.

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 [Turkish News backgrounder] set in the era of state founder Kemal Ataturk [Turkish News profile], fight to restrict Islamic influence on the nation. Last week, the Turkish parliament voted to ease the ban on Islamic headscarves [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.

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