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Moutia Elzahed WINS right to appeal after burqa ruling

Controversial: Moutia Elzahed refused to give evidence after Judge Audrey Balla ruled she must show her face when giving evidence

The Muslim wife of a convicted terrorist recruiter has claimed every time she goes to bed she’s terrified she will wake up with police beating her – as she wins a court victory.  

In an extraordinary affidavit tendered to a court this week, Moutia Elzahed claimed she was punched in the head and was told to ‘shut up b****’ during September 2014 terror raids on her Sydney home.

‘I do not sleep well, I jump at every noise, I get scared easily and sleep in bed with my scarf on now,’ she said.

‘Every time I think about what happened to me, I get very upset and cry again’.

The niqab-wearing Revesby woman lost her bid to sue police last year after a judge refused to let her testify unless she showed her face.  

Her black Islamic dress covers her entire body except for her eyes.

District Court Judge Audrey Balla ruled she couldn’t assess Ms Elzahed’s credibility as a witness without seeing her face and later found police used ‘reasonable force’ on her.  

But on Thursday a Sydney court granted Ms Elzahed leave to appeal after her barrister argued she should have been able to testify without men seeing her face. 

'Every time I think about what happened to me, I get very upset and cry again,' Ms Elzahed said

‘Every time I think about what happened to me, I get very upset and cry again,’ Ms Elzahed said

Her initial judge, Audrey Balla, had offered Ms Elzahed the chance to give evidence remotely, but she declined –

But this week Guy Reynolds SC said Ms Elzahed had other options to give evidence, including testifying behind a screen so only a judge could see her face.

‘It would have been very easy where she (the judge), albeit nobody else, could see the witness giving evidence,’ Mr Reynolds told the court. 

The Crown opposed Ms Elzahed’s leave application, arguing her lawyers hadn’t applied for the judge to consider hearing evidence from behind a screen.  

‘Her Honour did not have a freewheeling capacity to deal with matters that weren’t put to her in an application, particularly given the subject matters,’ said Dr David Kell SC. 

Ms Elzahed is pictured during police raids on her home in Revesby in September 2014

Ms Elzahed is pictured during police raids on her home in Revesby in September 2014

Ms Elzahed's de facto husband, the convicted terrorist recruiter Hamdi Alqudsi, is pictured at a court appearance

Ms Elzahed’s de facto husband, the convicted terrorist recruiter Hamdi Alqudsi, is pictured at a court appearance

Justices Anthony Payne and Ronald Sackville said they were ‘mindful’ of Dr Kell’s argument but granted leave to appeal, ruling there was a ‘sufficient matter of principle’ at stake. 

Ms Elzahed did not appear in court because she is ‘tending to her ill mother in Tripoli, Lebanon’.   

She has also been hit with nine charges of disrespecting a court after she allegedly refused to stand for Judge Balla, claiming she ‘only stands for Allah’.

Ms Elzahed’s statement was contained in an affidavit from her lawyer Zali Burrows. 

EXTRACT FROM MOUTIA ELZAHED’S AFFIDAVIT TO COURT

‘On 18 September 2014, at about 4.30am, I was in bed with my de facto husband Hamdi.

I heard a noise at the door, which sounded like a push at the door, I didn’t hear anyone knock at the door.

‘I saw Hamdi leave the bedroom to investigate. I felt scared. i screamed and stayed in bed.

‘I saw men enter by room shouting. I screamed again. I felt very frightened. I saw that the men were wearing balaclavas, helmets, flashlights and carrying guns. Their clothes were a navy-black colour.

‘I am of the Muslim faith and a man cannot see my face unless he is my husband or brother, father or son.

‘I held the bed sheet up to my face to save my modesty and because I did not have clothes to hide my body.

‘I felt scared and kept screaming when one man came towards me and he tried to pull my bed sheet down. I saw lights up in my face.

‘I heard him yell: ‘Shut up b****’, ‘Get out of the bed b****. Then he hit me, punching me in the ear, eyes and head….

‘Every time I go to bed I am afraid that I will wake up at 4.30am with police over my head and I will get hit again.

‘I do not sleep well, I jump at every noise, I get scared easily and sleep in bed with my scarf on now.

‘Every time I think about what happened to me, I get ver yupset and cry again’.

 

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