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Swiss soldier fined for ‘humiliating' hazing

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Swiss soldier fined for ‘humiliating' hazing
Photo: Admin.ch
10:21 CEST+02:00
A former commander of a company of Swiss tank grenadiers escaped jail time but was fined on Thursday by a military tribunal for backing humiliating initiation activities for new soldiers.

Recruits under the command of the former captain at a training centre in Bure in the canton of Jura were forced to drink water used for cooking fish mixed with schnapps, eat cat food, drink beer out of their boots and serve their superiors naked.

The former commander, 35, risked up to three years in jail for his role in the incidents, which dated back to September 2011.

The matter was compounded by the fact video footage of the hazing emerged on the internet, sullying the reputation of the Swiss army.

The accused defended his role in the case saying he believed the initiation activities reinforced cohesion in the group and forged character, the ATS news agency reported.

He testified that he had informed his superiors in advance

The batallion and brigade commanders had stated that hazing was not harmful provided it did not include drinking bouts or acts that humiliated soldiers.

However, the tribunal found that these instructions were unclear, ATS reported.

The former commander’s defence argued the commander was a “guest” at the initiation ceremonies that were in fact organized by the soldiers themselves.

In its ruling, the tribunal found that the captain could have stopped the hazing, however, and that he did not follow the requirements of the army.

The military court took into account his otherwise excellent qualifications and spotless record.

It fined him 500 francs in addition to a financial penalty totalling 960 francs, suspended for two years, conditional on good behaviour.

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