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Plan for foreign criminal expulsions hits impasse

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11:32 CEST+02:00

A controversial plan to deport foreign criminals from Switzerland hit an impasse this week after a governmental working group indicated it cannot agree on how to implement the measure.

The expulsion initiative, calling for the immediate deportation of foreign offenders convicted of serious crimes, was approved by Swiss voters last November and the working group was set up a month later.

But the seven-member committee presented four options to the Federal Council to consider after failing to make a common recommendation this week, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung reported on Wendesday.

The committee had attempted to find a legal path to implement the expulsions in a way that would be compatible with both the Swiss Constitution and international agreements. The group included two representatives of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party, which promoted the controversial initiative.

Three of the four proposals won a majority within the working group, while the most extreme plan was only supported by the representatives of the Swiss People’s Party, the paper said.

The experts presented their four initiatives for the Bundesrat on Tuesday, saying that they failed to find a common position. The hard-line proposal lists about 30 different crimes which would trigger immediate expulsion of foreigners, while the remaining three make deportation possible only in case of a prison sentence of minimum six months.

Exceptions for EU citizens are also considered. According to the report, the three proposals that won a majority would result in about 3,400 people to be expelled annually, while the other would lead to more than 16,000 foreign criminals ejected from the Alpine country.

The Justice Ministry is now working on a draft bill to be presented to Parliament. 

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