SHARE
COPY LINK
SVP UNDER FIRE

SWISS PEOPLES' PARTY

Prosecutor pursues SVP chiefs over ‘racist’ ad

A Zurich prosecutor has initiated criminal proceedings against some of the top figures in the far-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP) for infringement of anti-racism laws.

Prosecutor pursues SVP chiefs over 'racist' ad

Last August, an incendiary advertisement claiming that “Kosovars slash the Swiss” was released as part of the SVP’s campaign to "stop mass immigration". Two Kosovar people made public complaints about the ads on the grounds that they discriminated against an entire ethnic group.

A criminal investigation was then launched in October last year, online news site 20 Minuten reported.

The ad described an incident, which took place on August 15th 2011 at Interlaken, a tourist resort in the Bernese Alps. According to news reports, a Kosovar man attempted to kill a Swiss Alpine wrestler by cutting his throat with a knife.

Some newspapers refused to publish the ad in its original form but agreed to go to press with a toned down version that read: "A Kosovar slashes a Swiss". However, the original ad was widely distributed online by the SVP as part of its initiative.

Now Zurich prosecutor Hans Maurer is opening criminal proceedings against some of the SVP’s top politicians for infringement of Switzerland's anti-racism laws. Those listed in the proceedings include the SVP’s president Toni Brunner, vice president Christoph Blocher and parliamentary leader Adrian Amstutz.

Maurer now wants to find out how the party arrived at the controversial text.

It is possible that several of those implicated will seek to rely on parliamentary immunity, which prevents a politician from having to answer charges where he can show a link between his work as a parliamentarian and the issue in question.

Christoph Blocher, who is already seeking immunity for his involvement in the affair that led to the resignation of former central bank chief Philipp Hildebrand, will probably not be able to make use of it in this case because he had no parliamentary mandate at the time in question.

David Gibor, the lawyer for the complainants, believes the ad should have immediately been taken down, and is disappointed that it is still visible on the SVP website.

"All members of the initiative committee are well aware of the nationwide outrage and, after the criminal complaint was made, of the potentially criminal content of the advertisement,” Gibor told the newspaper.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

SWISS PEOPLES' PARTY

The decision to re-open Switzerland’s borders is ‘incomprehensible’, says Swiss People’s party

The right-wing group says the government’s plan to start recruiting foreign workers from June 8th and re-open its borders with Germany, Austria and France from June 15th, is detrimental to Switzerland’s future.

The decision to re-open Switzerland's borders is 'incomprehensible', says Swiss People's party
The SVP is against Switzerland opening its borders to the EU. Photo by AFP

In response to the Federal Council’s announcement about the easing of travel and employment restrictions as of June 8th, the Swiss People’s Party (SVP / UDC) said on its website that it “demands the maintenance of strict border controls”. 

“The decision to restore the free movement of people and to abolish border controls is an affront to the Swiss who find themselves unemployed because of the Covid-19 pandemic”, the SVP said in a press release.

It added that even though “almost two million people, more than a third of all Swiss workers, are on short-time work and more than 150,000 have lost their jobs, the Federal Council wants to bring even more foreign workers into Switzerland”.

READ MORE: Switzerland relaxes work and residency restrictions: What does this mean for foreigners?

It goes on to argue that “following the sharp increase in unemployment in all neighbouring countries, Switzerland will inevitably suffer an additional influx of immigrants that cannot be arrested because of the free movement of people”.

“In addition, the number of people entering Switzerland illegally will again increase due to the opening of borders”, the SVP said.

Even before the latest government announcement about the re-opening of borders, the SVP, the largest of Switzerland’s political parties, had been campaigning for the end of the Swiss-EU agreement on free movement of people, and against immigration in general.

In its press release, the party reiterated its long-held position that foreigners “have come to settle in our small country to work or take advantage of our social system”. 

On September 27, the Swiss will vote on the SVP-sponsored initiative, seeking to curb EU immigration into Switzerland and allowing Switzerland to set its own migration quotas. 

The referendum was originally scheduled to be held on May 17th, but had to be postponed until September due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


 

SHOW COMMENTS