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Why Did a Judge Waive a Jury Trial for an Islamist Who Allegedly Tried to Throw His Sister-in-Law Off a Parking Garage?


"Are Aussies too biased to try this Muslim man?"

In 2009, Ismail Belghar reportedly attacked his sister-in-law, Canan Kokden, after she "dared" take his wife to the beach without his permission.

Given away by his wife's "slightly sunburned shoulders," Belghar reportedly called Kokden in a rage and said: "You slut, how dare you take my wife to the beach?" 

But when he next saw her, things escalated to a frightening degree. 

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Kokden was shopping with her brother shortly before Christmas 2009 when she encountered Belghar.  He allegedly came up to her, slapped her across the face, and then dragged her to the railing of a high-rise parking garage and dangled her over it.

Kokden was saved only when her brother tackled Belghar, and forced him to let her go.

But this is not why Belghar's story has made international news.  Rather, it is because the man was due to have what is believed to be the first jury-less trial in Australia, because of his religious beliefs.

"The attitude of (Belghar) ... is based on a religious or cultural basis. In light of the fact there has been adverse publicity regarding people who hold extreme Muslim faith beliefs in the community, I am of the view that the apprehension by (Belghar) that he may not receive a fair trial is a reasonable apprehension," Judge Solomon said.

"Are Aussies too biased to try this Muslim man?" the Australian Telegraph asked today.

Still others wonder: Are this man's religious beliefs somehow granting him special considerations?  Would an ordinary accused woman-beater be excused from a jury of his peers?

Australians have been so outraged by the matter that the Crown intervened in the case, saying that every Muslim would have to be granted a judge-only trial if it prevailed.

Belghar's trial was due to start yesterday, but because he denied the charge of attempted murder and apologized to his sister-in-law, the charge has been dropped.  Rather, he is pleading guilty to detaining and assaulting Kokden, and will be sentenced at a later date.

(H/T: National Review)

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