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Woman sues over publication of photo

10/04/2009 12:26 AM | By Bassam Za'za', Senior Reporter

Dubai: A winner of a government academic excellence award is suing three of the award's executives for publishing a photograph of her not wearing a niqab (face cover) without her consent.

The Emirati winner, who wears a niqab, claimed in the civil lawsuit she lodged before the Dubai Civil Court that the executives published the photo in the award's magazine and broadcast it on television without her knowledge and consent.

"When I applied for the award, I submitted, along with the application, my personal photo with a hijab but without a niqab. It was conditional to do so for applicants. The organisers claimed they needed that picture to match with my identification papers [in case of winning] and not for publishing or printing. During the award's distribution ceremony, I was shocked when I discovered the photo had been published in the award's magazine.

"Over and above, the photo was presented in a slide show presentation during the ceremony which was being aired live on local and Arab satellite televisions. My family and husband were shocked and devastated when they saw my picture& they even asked me to quit my job as a teacher and stay at home," claimed the plaintiff in her lawsuit.

She claimed she requested the organisers not to publish the photo which she submitted along with her application.

The claimant alleged that publishing her photo without her niqab damaged her reputation amongst her conservative family and husband and ruined her status in her community.

She lodged her lawsuit against the magazine's chairman and editor and the award's executive who collects the contenders' applications.

She has not claimed any particular compensatory amount of money. She asked the court to assess the damages she had supposedly incurred and to order the defendants to compensate her for publishing her photo with her face uncovered.

She argued in her lawsuit that when she knew she had won, she did not attend the special winners' photo session because she refused to have her photo taken and printed anywhere.

"It's unacceptable amongst my family and community to have my picture published without a niqab. When the award's magazine editor phoned me, I told him that I missed the photo shoot because I didn't want my photo published. It's weird to see that another woman, who wears the niqab, won the same award category but her picture was not published," she said.

The court reconvenes later this month.

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