Athens, November 22, 2013
The Muslim man, Demetr Simeonidu, who lived in Thrace, left all his fortune in his will to his wife and prepared respective documents. However, his sister contested the will because, according to the sharia law, a Muslim cannot fully bequeath his fortune at his own discretion and it should be distributed in accordance with the Muslim regulations.
The judgment of the Supreme court contradicts the traditional right of Greek Muslims in Thrace to draw up a will in accordance with the civil code, rather than Muslim religious rights; Muslims of Thrace have enjoyed this right since 1946.
This precedent may affect the whole traditional judicial practice in Greece and, thus, relatives of Muslims will probably be able to dispute the official order of distribution of fortunes.
According to the Treaty of Lausanne, signed in 1923 by Greece and Turkey, among other countries, Imams in Western Thrace have a right to decide cases of the civil jurisdiction, first of all of the family code. In 2011, sharia courts in Thrace were condemned by the Commissioner of the Council of Europe as discriminatory against women.