• Switzerland edition
 
Swiss ban on UFO posters was legal: court
Carmen Slade (File)

Swiss ban on UFO posters was legal: court

Published: 13 Jul 2012 17:09 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Jul 2012 17:09 GMT+02:00

More than a decade after Swiss police barred a UFO religious group from putting up posters depicting aliens, Europe's top rights court ruled Friday the sect's free speech had not been violated.

Police in the Swiss canton of Neuchatel in 2001 banned the Raelian group, which claims aliens created life on earth, from putting up the posters.

The local ban came after other authorities in Switzerland had allowed the posters.

Neuchatel officials said the posters presented a public order threat because Raelians promote human cloning and "geniocracy", a system where leaders are picked according to their intelligence.

Additionally, a Swiss court found the Raelians had "theoretically" advocated paedophilia and incest, the European Court of Human Rights said in a statement Friday.

The group had also been the subject of criminal complaints about sexual practices involving children, the court said.

Swiss high courts affirmed the ban and Europe's top rights court in January 2011 upheld the decision.

The Raelians then appealed the Strasbourg-based court's decision, ultimately winning an appeal for the Grand Chamber to hear the case.

The 17-member chamber ruled Friday, nine to eight, that the Raelians' freedom of expression was not violated.

"Authorities had not overstepped the broad margin of appreciation given to them in view of the non-political dimension of the poster campaign," the court said.

At a November hearing, a lawyer for the Raelians argued that cloning is not illegal. He said the religious movement had repeatedly condemned all acts of paedophilia and said it was contradictory to ban a poster when neither the sect nor the website were barred.

The court also noted the ban only applied to putting posters on public property, "allowing the association to use other means of expression."

The Geneva-based sect, which claims tens of thousands of members worldwide, was founded in 1976 by Claude Vorilhon, known as "Rael".

According to its constitution, the group aims to make the first contacts and establish good relations with extraterrestrials.

The poster in question was about one-metre (three feet) tall and across the top in big letters were the words: "The Message from Extraterrestrials", according to the court.

Underneath was the Raelians' web address, a French phone number and the phrase: "Science at last replaces religion."

The middle of the poster showed alien faces and a pyramid, together with a flying saucer and the Earth.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
FC Basel beat Liverpool in 1-0 home victory
Basel's goal-scoring forward Marco Streller (left) vies with Liverpool's Spanish defender Jose Enrique during match. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

FC Basel beat Liverpool in 1-0 home victory

FC Basel defeated English side Liverpool 1-0 in a Champions League game played on Wednesday night to a cheering home crowd at St. Jakob Park. READ  

Woman's potato fall 'not restaurant’s fault': court
Photo: The Local

Woman's potato fall 'not restaurant’s fault': court

A woman who was seriously injured after stepping on a potato in a self-service restaurant in the canton of Zurich has failed to get a court to back her complaint, while a judge warned that it was up to customers to watch where they were walking. READ  

Foreign women have rising share of newborns
Photo: Waltraud Grubitzsch/AFP/Getty Images

Foreign women have rising share of newborns

More than one in three babies were born in Switzerland last year to foreign mothers, a proportion that has doubled in the past 20 years, according to government figures. READ  

National tax planned to cut water micropollutants
The Terre Sainte sewage treatment plant in the canton of Vaud. Photo: Canton of Vaud

National tax planned to cut water micropollutants

Starting in 2016, an annual tax of up to nine francs ($9.43) per resident will help finance equipment in around 100 sewage treatment plants across Switzerland to prevent microscopic pollutants from flowing into lakes and rivers. READ  

UBS pays €1.1-billion bail in French 'tax fraud' case
Photo: UBS

UBS pays €1.1-billion bail in French 'tax fraud' case

Swiss banking giant UBS has made a €1.1-billion ($1.4-billion) bail payment for allegedly helping rich French clients to hide money in Switzerland, a lawyer for the bank said on Tuesday. READ  

Senior dupes European court in suicide snafu
Photo: AFP

Senior dupes European court in suicide snafu

The European rights court on Tuesday withdrew its criticism of Switzerland's assisted suicide laws after it emerged an octogenarian who filed the initial complaint had duped both the court and her lawyer in the case. READ  

Wawrinka knocked out early at Japan Open
The top seeded Swiss struggled to make his mark. Photo: Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP

Wawrinka knocked out early at Japan Open

Tatsuma Ito followed the winning example of Japanese compatriot Kei Nishikori as the number 103-ranked local dumped top seed Stan Wawrinka out 7-5, 6-2 in the first round of the Japan Open tennis tournament on Tuesday. READ  

Swiss group's bid for cat quotas creates buzz
Photo: Joel Dietle

Swiss group's bid for cat quotas creates buzz

A proposal by a Swiss animal protection group to set a limit of one cat per household in Switzerland is attracting international attention. READ  

Basel tackle Liverpool in Champions League duel
FC Basel coach Paulo Sousa: "We'll be stronger." Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP

Basel tackle Liverpool in Champions League duel

Liverpool are confident that they can put a frustrating run of domestic form behind them when they face FC Basel in Switzerland in Champions League Group B football action on Wednesday. READ  

Bern police seek help after boy dies in woods
Köniz church, near where the body was found. Photo: Ikiwaner/Wikimedia Commons

Bern police seek help after boy dies in woods

Police in the canton of Bern on Monday launched a bid for help from the public after the body of a 15-year-old boy was found in the woods near Köniz. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Scientific study rings alarm over wellbeing of Swiss cows with bells
Business & Money
Switzerland's residents top world financial wealth list: Allianz report
National
Saint Maurice abbey in Valais celebrates 1,500 years of history
National
Streaming movie video service Netflix arrives in Switzerland
National
Professional Chilean base jumper dives to death in Swiss Alps
Education
ETH Zurich remains top university in Europe: QS world rankings
National
Switzerland's housing vacancy rate jumps: new federal figures
National
Swiss football club fires team masseuse over explicit sex video
National
Geneva police arrest easyJet passenger over hand luggage row
Business & Money
Latest forecasts for Swiss economic growth turn less bullish
Sport
Formula One legend Schumacher to continue treatment at Swiss home
National
Former federal planning official calls for nine Swiss cantons
Features
The Local gets the lowdown on mushroom picking in Switzerland
National
Virgin boss Richard Branson's son rescued from peak of Matterhorn
National
Swiss President Didier Burkhalter's commute turns Twitter sensation
Features
High-tech cameras give dizzy view of Eiger's north face (VIDEO)
Politics
Baden municipal council strips 'nude selfies mayor' of duties
Business & Money
Switzerland stays atop competitiveness table for sixth year
National
Federal parliament secretary agrees to step down over nude selfies
National
Swiss residents pick Swedes as ideal European soul mates: survey
National
Zurich officials call project to move prostitutes to 'sex boxes' a success
National
Swiss gays recognized as parents of child born to surrogate mother
Health
Increase in mountain bike accidents keeps Swiss hospitals busy
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,124
jobs available