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'Beat women' cleric gets 15 months

By CNN Madrid Bureau Chief Al Goodman


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MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- A Spanish court has sentenced a Muslim cleric to 15 months in jail for inciting violence through a book he wrote advising men on how to beat women without leaving any marks or evidence, the president of a women's group told CNN.

The sentence was handed down by a Barcelona court against the cleric, Mohamed Kamal Mustafa, who is an iman in the southern Spanish city of Fuengirola, said Enriqueta Chicano, president of the Federation of Progressive Women.

This women's group was one of several that brought the case in Barcelona, where the book was published.

Spanish news reports said the cleric's lawyer vowed to appeal, and Chicano told CNN it was not likely the cleric would go to jail until after the appeal was heard.

"This is very important," Chicano said of the Barcelona sentence. "The court has used the penal code, which is used very little, in a case of sexual violence."

Chicano said she had read portions of the book, which advised men to beat women in places that would not leave obvious marks, such as their feet, so that the men would not face "any complications."

Spanish news reports indicated that part of the cleric's defense centered on his claim that he had just transcribed the information about the beatings from ancient Muslim holy writings.

But Chicano said even if "the beatings are supposedly a part of a cultural tradition, there is nothing that can be a higher calling than human rights."

The cleric has practiced in Spain for more than a decade, and is currently based in the southern town of Fuengirola on Spain's "Costa del Sol," popular with vacationers and expatriates.

During the trial, the cleric's defense argued that he was not inciting men to violence, but instead urging them not to get violent when they are in a hot and angry mood.


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