Court upholds guilty verdict for Swiss border guard who failed to help pregnant refugee

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Court upholds guilty verdict for Swiss border guard who failed to help pregnant refugee
The border guard was found not guilty of attempted murder.

An appeals court has upheld the guilty verdict of a Swiss border guard who was found guilty in 2017 of causing bodily harm through negligence, attempting to terminate a pregnancy and repeatedly failing in his duties.


On Tuesday afternoon, the military appeals court in Zurich agreed with a Bern military court verdict of last year for the 58-year-old border guard, Swiss news agency SDA reported.

However, the appeals court rejected military prosecutors' calls for the sergeant to be found guilty of attempted murder. The court also found no evidence the border guard had attempted to terminate a pregnancy.

The border guard's sentence was also reduced with the military appeals court dropping a suspended sentence of seven months.

However, a suspended fine handed down by the military court last year was increased from 9,000 Swiss francs (€7,850) to €22,000 francs.

The case dates back to July 2014 when a group of Syrian refugees were attempting to travel to France from Italy on a train through Switzerland.

Among the group was a 22-year-old woman who was seven months pregnant and accompanied by her husband and two-year-old son.

After being stopped at a French-Swiss border point, they were loaded into buses by border guards and ordered back to Italy. On the return journey, the woman began to bleed, but despite repeated calls for help, Swiss authorities did not respond, according to the woman’s husband.  

He claimed they and their two-year-old son were then detained in a “cell” at Brig station for four hours with no medical assistance, Swiss media reported at the time.

They were subsequently put on a train from Brig to the Italian border town of Domodossola, where the woman was hospitalized, but her baby was later stillborn.

Military prosecutors had initially called for the border guard to be sentenced to seven years in prison while the defence team asked for all charges to be dropped.

Read also: Swiss village that refused refugees has change of heart


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