Muslim woman Moutia Elzahed, charged over refusal to stand in court

The lawyer for a Muslim woman who was charged after she refused to stand in court for a judge says she is considering a constitutional challenge. Moutia Elzahed, 49, from Revesby, is facing nine charges of disrespectful behaviour in court for not standing when Sydney District Court Judge Audrey Balla entered or left the court room during a civil hearing in November and December 2016.

Ms Elzahed had brought a lawsuit against the NSW and Federal Police, claiming she was assaulted during a counter terror raid at her home in 2014. She is the wife of convicted Islamic State recruiter Hamdi Alqudsi, who is currently serving a six-year jail sentence for helping young Australians travel to Syria to fight.

Ms Elzahed is the first person in NSW to be charged with the offence of disrespectful behaviour in court since it was introduced last year. During the civil hearing, Ms Elzahed’s barrister Clive Evatt told the court his client “won’t stand for anyone except Allah”.

Today Ms Elzahed’s solicitor Zali Burrows said she has been speaking to two barristers about launching a constitutional challenge but could not provide any more details at this stage. She said her client had not been disrespectful.

Ms Elzahed was supposed to appear before the Downing Centre Local Court today, but Ms Burrows said her client was unwell and could provide a medical certificate. The matter will return to court on July 20.

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