Muslim lawyer gets 600,000 pounds racial discrimination award over bin Laden remark

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London, Sep 6 : A British Muslim lawyer, who was suspended from work by the Crown Prosecution Service after joking she was treated like a friend of Osama bin Laden, has been awarded a record 600,000 pound payout for racial discrimination.

An employment tribunal found that there was "not a shred of evidence" to support the treatment of Halima Aziz by the CPS and ordered it to reinstate her and issue a full and unequivocal apology, The Telegraph reported.

Halima Aziz made the remark a fortnight after the September 11 attacks, and was suspended by the CPS following a complaint from the court. She was accused of inciting a riot, expressing anti-American sentiments and associating herself with Bin Laden.

She won a race and sex discrimination case against them in 2004 on grounds that if she had been a white man she would not have been treated that way.

The dispute continued for seven years - at a cost of more than a million pounds to the taxpayer - because the CPS had remained "in a state of denial" about the case, a new tribunal has ruled.

The controversy started in 2001 when a security guard at Bradford magistrates' court made a comment about her being a security risk.

Aziz allegedly replied: "I'm a friend of Bin Laden's." As news of the remark spread, reports claimed that it had provoked clashes between white and Asian youths at the court building.

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