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Swiss drop ban on German ex-terrorist

A member of the former German Red Army Faction terror group convicted for his part in nine murders has had a ban on entering Switzerland overturned by the country's highest court.

Christian Klar assisted in deadly attacks in the 1970s and 1980s on leading German industrialists and public figures including Hanns Martin Schleyer and Juergen Ponto, Swiss news agency ATS reported.

Klar also took part in a raid on a bank in Zurich and shot at a police officer on the Swiss-German border before being sent to a German prison to serve a life sentence in 1985.

Announcing its decision, Switzerland's Federal Tribunal agreed with Klar's assertion that he had not been told about the ban when it was originally served in 1988, but only relayed to him shortly after his release from prison in 2009.

The tribunal also stated that Klar, now 60, no longer represented a security threat and said that the original ban should be reviewed by the Federal Office of Police since the attacks happened more than 30 years ago and he had served his sentence.

The extreme left Red Army Faction (RAF), also known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang after its founders Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof, mounted a violent campaign against what it considered was the oppressive capitalist state of West Germany from 1977 to 1982.

It targeted the German elite and the US military based in Germany and is suspected of killing 34 people.

The kidnapping and murder in September 1977 of Schleyer, a former member of the Nazi party and the head of the German employers' federation, was arguably the group's highest-profile attack.

Schleyer was snatched from his car in Cologne in an attempt to blackmail the German government to release imprisoned Red Army Faction members.

His bodyguard, driver and two policemen were shot dead.

Klar was one of a second generation of RAF members who carried out the campaign of violence after Baader and Meinhof committed suicide following their capture in 1972.

The group officially disbanded in 1998.

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Reader question: How can I bring my family to live with me in Switzerland?

Family reunification can be tricky in Switzerland, depending on where you and your family are from. Here is what you need to know.

Reader question: How can I bring my family to live with me in Switzerland?

If you live in Switzerland, you might want to bring your family from abroad to live with you. However, this will not be possible in every case, as the rules for family reunification vary broadly depending on where you and your family are from and how closely related you are.

Family reunification might not be a given right for those living in Switzerland on a permit. Instead, it may be a possibility left to the discretion of the authorities. Unlike those on a B permit (residence permit), people in Switzerland on a C permit (settlement permit), for example, don’t necessarily have a right to bring their family.

READ ALSO: Five things to consider when organising childcare in Switzerland

Additionally, you can’t bring just any family members to Switzerland. Who you are allowed to bring, and under what circumstances, will depend on your nationality.

For Swiss citizens

If the person living in Switzerland is a Swiss citizen, they are allowed to bring their spouse or registered partner, any children and grandchildren under the age of 18 (or 21 or dependent if the child comes from an EU/EFTA country), your dependent parents and grandparents if they come from an EU/EFTA country.

For citizens of an EU/EFTA country

Citizens of the European Union or an EFTA country can bring a spouse or registered partner, any children or grandchildren under the age of 21 (or dependent), and any dependent parents or grandparents.

For citizens from a third country

Citizens from a third country such as the US, Canada, Brazil, the UK, South Africa or Australia, for example, are only allowed to bring a spouse or registered partner and children under the age of 18.

How to bring them?

It’s important to mention that there are time limits to applying for family reunification. In general, people have five years to apply for family reunification, but only one year if the application is for children over 12 years old. The Swiss government says it is “so that they can integrate more rapidly into Swiss society”.

READ ALSO: What is the EU’s ‘single permit’ for third-country nationals and can I get one?

There are several other conditions that need to be met. For example, you need to prove the relationship to the person you want to bring, and you need to have a large enough accommodation to house the whole family.

Additionally, those who are self-employed or unemployed need to show proof of sufficient financial resources.

The family members need a valid identity card or passport, a visa (if necessary), and a certificate proving the relationship and proving they are dependents (if required). In addition, a spouse needs to show proof of A1 language or a certificate of enrolment in a language course of the area where they apply for the permit.

The application must be made with the immigration authority in your canton, who may ask for extra documents or further information.

READ ALSO: How long can I stay out of Switzerland and keep my residency rights?

If the application is accepted, the family members will receive a residence permit – the exact type depends on the person in Switzerland’s status. The family will be allowed to work in Switzerland unless they are parents or grandparents.

Children are required to attend free compulsory schooling at least until the age of 16 and all family members need to have a Swiss health insurance.

Each canton may have its own particular rules and minor differences in status and documents may lead to different outcomes depending on the case. Therefore, don’t forget to check with your cantonal immigration authority what applies to your particular case.

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