Kenyan Fined for Refusing to Stand in Court in Mannheim

Judges at the Federal Constitutional Court. File Photo

A Mannheim Court has ordered a Kenyan man to pay a 300 euro fine because of his refusal to stand up in court, the man sited religious reasons for his refusal. 

A Kenyan man who was appearing in court to answer to assault charges, found himself defending himself for another issue altogether. The man who had already been noted for coming late to the court proceedings, irked the judge further when he refused to stand in court for the reading of the verdict. The man defended his stand saying as a Muslim, he was only allowed to stand for Allah.

The District court in Mannheim was adamant that he had to stand and fined him for refusing to do so. The court subsequently fined him 300 euros or 3 days imprisonment.

Siting religious freedoms, the Kenyan appealed this ruling at the highest regional court (OLG) in Karlsruhe. The court in Karlsruhe rejected this appeal and agreed with the court in Mannheim.

The OLG’s ruling opined that the legal process required certain norms as a signal of respect. He agreed that Islam forbids worship of other idols, but standing in court could not be considered worship as it was not a religious act. The court went further to say that the refusal was  intended to provoke thus justifying the fine.

Not to be deterred, the man appealed the decision again at the Federal Constitution Court which unfortunately also rejected it making the decision from the Regional Court in Mannheim final  (AZ: 2 BvR 1366/17 – decision of 08. November 2017).

The man was sentenced to a year imprisonment for assault.

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