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Last Updated: Friday, 23 April, 2004, 18:52 GMT 19:52 UK
French court says imam can return
Abdelkader Bouziane being expelled from France last Wednesday
Bouziane was expelled amid public uproar over his comments
A Muslim preacher who was ejected from France on Wednesday for saying men should beat their wives is free to return, a Lyon court has ruled.

The court suspended the government expulsion order, reportedly expressing "serious doubt" about its legality.

Abdelkader Bouziane was sent to his native Algeria a day after his comments advocating wife-beating "under certain conditions" caused public uproar.

But the government has vowed to appeal the decision with new information.

Speaking on a visit to Corsica, French Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin said he would be sending the court "additional elements of information which justify the expulsion".

His government has 15 days to provide the court with the new information, before a fuller ruling is issued in a few weeks' time.

'Holy war'

In the Lyon court, the lawyer representing the interior ministry, Georges Holleaux, alleged that Mr Bouziane, 52, had called for jihad (holy war) in France.

However, this allegation was not made before Mr Bouziane was deported.

Mr Bouziane's lawyer argues that his expulsion "violated several fundamental liberties".

Mr Bouziane has lived in France for about 25 years and has left his family - reportedly including two wives and 16 children - behind.

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