• Switzerland edition
 
Nationalist acquitted over anti-minaret stunt
Dominic Lüthard (Facebook)

Nationalist acquitted over anti-minaret stunt

Published: 08 Nov 2012 22:50 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Nov 2012 22:50 GMT+01:00

A regional court in Burgdorf, in the canton of Bern, found Dominic Lüthard not guilty of the charges relating to a 2010 rally of around 150 people protesting the construction of a minaret in Langenthal.

In a well-publicized stunt, Lüthard used a broom to brush away cardboard models of five minarets placed on the Swiss national flag while supporters applauded.

Justice authorities pressed charges, accusing the politician of comparing a religious symbol with dirt that needed to be cleared away.
 
Testifying in court Lüthard explained that he took the action because “minarets have no business in Switzerland”, according to a report from the SDA news agency.

He said the idea came to him spontaneously on the day of the demonstration, although he discussed it first with a lawyer who gave him the green light.

Lüthard said he was unaware that his own party had been convicted of using a poster conveying the same image in 2005 or that it was similar to one used by the 1930s National Front, a far-right party known for its anti-Semitism and similarities to the Nazis in Germany.

He told the court he was focused on the buildings and not trying re-enact a poster image.

A lawyer for the Islamic Community of Lagenthal accused Lüthard of disparaging a symbol of Islam by deliberately wiping the model minarets into the dirt.

Swiss voters approved a ban on the construction of new minarets in Switzerland in 2009, approving an initiative launched by right-wing groups.

The Islamic community of Lagenthal, which had received local permission to build a minaret before the vote, has sought legal avenues to have the ban set aside, but so far without success.

A Bern administrative court in April ruled that a minaret did not comply with municipal regulations governing rooftop structures.

The PNOS, founded in 2000, was classified as “extremist” by the Swiss federal police in an internal security report a year later.

The party, however, is a marginal force, with no representation at the cantonal or federal level.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Burkhalter hails Second World War mobilization
Swiss President Didier Burkhalter. Photo: FDFA

Burkhalter hails Second World War mobilization

Swiss President Didier Burkhalter on Monday thanked the country’s citizens who mobilized 75 years earlier to defend the mountain country when the Second World War broke out. READ  

Swiss pays UK and Austria over tax dodging
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Swiss pays UK and Austria over tax dodging

Switzerland said on Monday that it had completed a programme to pay Britain and Austria hundreds of millions of euros in settlements for past tax-dodging by their citizens. READ  

Japan Novartis unit failed to report 'drug deaths'
Photo: Sebastien Bozon/AFP

Japan Novartis unit failed to report 'drug deaths'

The Japanese unit of Swiss pharma giant Novartis has admitted it did not report more than 2,500 cases of serious side effects in patients using its leukaemia and other cancer drugs, reportedly including some fatalities. READ  

Swiss health insurance premiums 'set to jump'
Federal Health Minister Alain Berset: set to release official figures later this month. Photo: Federal Assembly

Swiss health insurance premiums 'set to jump'

Swiss health insurance premiums are set to rise steeply overall next year, according to figures revealed by a Sunday newspaper. READ  

Presented by St Bernard Assure Limited
Car insurance made easy online with St Bernard
Photo: St Bernard Assure Limited

Car insurance made easy online with St Bernard

A new car insurance firm has ripped up the rule book when it comes to selling policies in Switzerland, by cutting out the middle-man and passing the savings onto their customers with its online only model. The Local finds out more. READ  

Bencic and Federer give Swiss double boost
Switzerland's Bencic celebrates at US Open. Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America/AFP

Bencic and Federer give Swiss double boost

Seventeen-year-old Belinda Bencic on Sunday became the youngest women's quarterfinalist at the US Open since 1997, giving Switzerland a double boost after Roger Federer moved into the last 16. READ  

Air show draws large crowds to Payerne
Patrouille Suisse in action. Photo: Matthias Kabel

Air show draws large crowds to Payerne

An estimated 160,000 people turned out for the opening weekend of Switzerland’s biggest air show at the Payerne military aerodrome in the canton of Vaud. READ  

Bolivian bus crash claims three Swiss lives
Route in the Uyuni region of Bolivia. Photo: Hermes Images/AFP

Bolivian bus crash claims three Swiss lives

A bus accident in Bolivia over the weekend claimed the lives of three Swiss citizens and at least six other people, according to press reports. READ  

Novartis heart drug billed 'blockbuster' after tests
Photo: Sebastien Bozon/AFP

Novartis heart drug billed 'blockbuster' after tests

An experimental drug from Swiss pharma giant Novartis reduced deaths from chronic heart failure by 20 percent compared with an existing treatment, according to the results of a vast new study. READ  

Kavcics's injury gives  Wawrinka US Open break
Wawrinka eases into fourth round. Photo: Don Emmert/AFP

Kavcics's injury gives Wawrinka US Open break

Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka reached the fourth round of the US Open tennis tournament by walkover on Saturday when Slovenian Blaz Kavcic withdrew from their third-round match with a right foot injury. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
Car insurance made easy online with St Bernard
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
National
Swiss policeman belatedly honoured for saving Jews from Holocaust
National
'Suicide tourists' to Switzerland double in three years: study
National
Swiss Post SMS scheme gets stamp of approval after pilot project
Business & Money
American tax evasion crackdown hits Swiss private banks' bottom line
Politics
Woman accuses Swiss politician in nude selfies scandal of lying
National
Villagers in Graubünden valley reject hydro plant to protect vultures
Business & Money
Court rules against appellation for absinthe from Neuchâtel valley
National
Two hundred passengers rescued after landslide derails Swiss train
Travel
Switzerland remains world champion for per capita train travel
Culture
Social media backlash forces Polanski to bow out of Locarno film festival
National
Two policemen identified among three Israelis killed in train crash
Features
Untouched Alps: The Local explores Switzerland's only national park
National
Swiss government secretary tweets nude ‘selfies’ taken at work
International
Swiss couples fined in Ibiza for making love in van without seatbelts
National
Schumacher medical record theft suspect hangs himself in Zurich cell
National
Thousands of motorists drive without permits in Switzerland: report
National
Switzerland celebrates the centennial of national park in Graubünden
National
Animal rights group protests over dead fish throwing at festival
National
Federer forced to tear down kids' play area at Graubünden holiday home
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

1,973
jobs available