Saturday, April 11, 2015

European Court Will Hear Case of Greek Muslim Widow Contesting Inheritance Rules

The Guardian yesterday reported on the first case to be taken to the European Court of Human Rights by a Greek Muslim woman who objects to Greece's application of Muslim personal law to her inheritance rights. The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne between Greece and Turkey provides in part:
Article 42. The Turkish Government undertakes to take, as regards non-Moslem minorities, in so far as concerns their family law or personal status, measures permitting the settlement of these questions in accordance with the customs of those minorities....
Article 45.  The rights conferred by the provisions of the present Section on the non-Moslem minorities of Turkey will be similarly conferred by Greece on the Moslem minority in her territory.
In 2013, Greece's Supreme Court, applying Article 45, held that matters of inheritance involving Greece's Muslim minority in Thrace must be resolved by muftis under sharia law.  Chatitze Molla Sali had by will been left all her husband's property. The husband's family contested the will, and a local mufti ruled that under sharia law, Muslims may not make wills. Instead property passes according to sharia rules.