A political row has erupted in the northern Italian city of Novara after a Muslim woman was fined 500 euros by police after she refused to remove her full-face covering burka. According to details released by police, the Tunisian woman Amel Salah and her husband Ben Salah were stopped by police on Friday.

When asked to remove her veil, her husband refused to allow her to expose her face on the grounds that such an act would violate their Muslim beliefs.

"I cannot take off my veil in front of you, because you are two men, I am sorry," she reportedly told police.

This was Italy's first such fine and made possible after Novara introduced a controversial by-law in January banning clothing which prevented immediate identification in public.

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