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Belgium: Chamber of Representatives Adopts Draft Law Banning Covering of the Face in Public Places

(May 7, 2010) On April 29, 2010, the Belgian Chamber of Representatives voted 136 in favor, none opposed, with two abstentions to ban the wearing of clothing that covers or partly covers the face (Compte rendu intégral, Séance plénière du 29-04-2010, La Chambre des Représentants de Belgique, available at http://www.dekamer.be/doc/PCRI/pdf/52/ip152.pdf). If adopted later by the Senate, the law would add article 563bis to the Penal Code to provide:

Those who, unless provided otherwise by law, present themselves in places accessible to the public with their face masked or covered or partly covered, in such a way that they cannot be identified, shall be punished by a fine of €15 to €20 and imprisonment of one to seven days or either one of these penalties.

However, not included in paragraph (1) are those who circulate in places accessible to the public with their face masked or covered or partly covered, in such a way that they cannot be identified, by virtue of work regulations or a police ordinance regulating festivity events. (Projets et propositions de lois, Proposition No. 2289, La Chambre des Représentants de Belgique, available at http://www.dekamer.be/kvvcr/showpage.cfm?section=/flwb&language=fr&a
mp;rightmenu=right&cfm=/site/wwwcfm/flwb/flwbn.cfm?lang=F&le
gislat=52&dossierID=2289
.)