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CRIME

Man stands trial over brutal murder of therapist

A convicted rapist accused of slitting the throat of his therapist three years ago has gone on trial for murder in Geneva.

Man stands trial over brutal murder of therapist
The murder suspect was arrested in Poland. Photo: AFP, Marcin Bielecki

The prosecution is seeking life imprisonment for 42-year-old Fabrice Anthamatten, who admits the killing but denies it was premeditated, according to news reports.

The country was shocked by the brutal killing of the female therapist, Adeline Morel, in September 2013. The 34-year-old was the mother of an eight-month-old child.

A two-time convicted rapist, Anthamatten was serving a 20-year sentence at the Geneva la Pâquerette detention centre when he was allowed out on day release with Morel.

Her body was found in the woods near an equestrian centre where she had been escorting Anthamatten for a therapy session.

The French-Swiss inmate who fled the crime scene was arrested in Poland and extradited to Switzerland.

The prosecution argues that Anthamatten meticulously planned the crime over several months, exploiting failings at the detention centre to obtain day release, choose where to spend it, and acquire the knife he used to kill his victim.

The defendant denies premeditation.

Anthamatten, who is also charged with sexual assault and deprivation of liberty, gave testimony on the first day of his trial, scheduled to last two weeks.

He described his difficult childhood, with a mother who neglected him and a father who was an alcoholic.

Four psychiatric experts – two French and two Swiss – will also be called to give crucial evidence on whether the suspect can be cured.

If they successfully argue he cannot be, Anthamatten could face life in prison if found guilty.

The case has sparked a national debate about whether prisoners are being treated too leniently and the Geneva authorities promised changes to tighten regulations.

The authorities acknowledged that Anthamatten should have never been released alone in Morel’s custody.

 

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GENEVA

Foreign residents in Geneva could get voting rights

The French-speaking canton is home to Switzerland’s largest foreign population. An initiative calling for these residents to be able to vote has been accepted by the parliament.

Foreign residents in Geneva could get voting rights

Geneva’s voters will go to the polls to decide whether foreign residents can vote on the cantonal level. The canton has the highest proportion of foreigners in the country — about 40 percent.

The Council of State has accepted the initiative spearheaded by trade unions and various associations to grant the right to vote and stand as a candidate for foreigners who have resided in Geneva for at least eight years.

The alliance has collected 8,162 valid signatures, exceeding the 8,157 required by the Geneva Constitution for a cantonal vote to be held.

The date of the vote has not yet been set.

However, unlike some other cantons which allow only C-permit holders to vote, Geneva’s initiative calls for any foreigner — whether a permanent resident or asylum seeker — to have this right, as long as the eight-year residency requirement is met.

Geneva already grants foreigners voting rights at communal level, but they can’t run for office. 

Thomas Vanek, who represents the left alliance in the Geneva parliament said such an all-inclusive approach is important because “most of the debates are done at the cantonal level. And when you have 40 percent of the people residing in the canton who are excluded from political debate, that’s a problem”.

Where in Switzerland do foreigners have the right to vote?

On the federal level, only Swiss citizens (whether born in Switzerland or naturalised) can vote.

However, some cantons and communes give their resident foreigners the right to vote on local issues and to elect local politicians. 

The Swiss-French cantons and municipalities seem to be ahead of their German-speaking counterparts in regards to voting rights.

As this article in The Local explains: “The cantons of Fribourg, Vaud, Neuchâtel and Jura allow non-citizens to vote, elect officials, and stand for election at communal level. Conditions vary from one canton to another, but in most cases a certain length of stay and/or a residence permit are required”.

Basel, Graubünden, and Appenzell Ausserrhoden have authorised their communes to introduce the right to vote, the right to elect and the right to be elected. 

But few of the communes have actually introduced these measures.

In Graubünden, only 10 of the canton’s 208 municipalities are allowing foreigners to vote: Bever, Bonaduz, Calfreise, Cazis, Conters im Prättigau, Fideris, Lüen, Masein, Portein, and Schnaus.

Only three of Appenzell Ausserrhoden’s 20 municipalities— Wald, Speicher, and Trogen — granted voting rights to non-citizens.

READ MORE: Where in Switzerland can foreigners vote?
 

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