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RACIAL PROFILING

Swiss man fined 2,000 francs for filming racist video

A resident of the Swiss canton of Bern has been handed a conditional fine of 2,000 Swiss francs (€1,820) over a video in which he filmed himself racially abusing a Kenyan man.

Swiss man fined 2,000 francs for filming racist video
File photo: Depositphotos

The incident took place at a car wash in Zollbrück, Bern back in February when the Swiss man filmed himself watching the African who was washing his jeep.

“Look at the fucking nigger ('Scheiss-Neger'). He’s even singing a bit, the idiot,” the man can be heard saying in the video.

The man then asks if the African actually paid for his jeep of if he did it “like in Africa”.

“This is Africa, hey. This dude has got it really good,” the man says next.

READ ALSO: Racism – Young people in Switzerland feel increasingly discriminated against

Police in Bern launched an investigation after the man's video footage of the incident was posted on social media.

The Bern man has now been handed a conditional fine of 2,000 francs for numerous racial insults and for invasion of privacy through use of a recording device, according to court documents seen by Swiss news site 20 Minuten.

Under Swiss law, because the 2,000-franc fine is conditional, it will only be payable if the man offends again within four years. However, he must immediately pay 1,000 francs in costs and other fines.

The man behind the video had previously told Swiss media he did not regret his actions and that he had not posted the video on social media. However, investigators established he had forwarded the video to at least seven other people.

“I am extremely shocked and sad,” the 24-year-old victim of the incident said previously.

The Kenyan also said he tried to remain calm not to escalate the situation. “I just wanted to wash my car,” he said.

“I had never seen the person before. He obviously needed to vent his racial hatred,” said the man.

Many commenters on the 20 Minuten website expressed their outrage both at the fact that the fine was so small, and that is was conditional.

Member comments

  1. Why only a conditional fine? Anti-racism laws in CH are a joke. I’m an educated African-American and former banker. I was walking my dog in the forest near Greng/Murten. My dog ,who is very friendly, walked over to greet another dog. The other dog was owned by a Bernese couple. The man physically attacked my dog for sniffing his dog! When I called him an idiot, he punched me in the face and the wife told me to go back to Africa. My teenaged daughter was with me. She called my Swiss husband who called the police. All arrived on the scene. I was shaken and nervous but described the situation to the police and my daughter confirmed the events as a witness. The police told me not to file charges as i could not prove that he hit me and that i did not accidentally fall into some bushes. I’m not joking…. My Swiss husband said and did nothing to defend me and my daughter. That’s when i realized how deep racism and sexism runs in CH….. and i decided that my worst fears about my Swiss husband were true– he harbors racist and sexist sympathies while telling the world he is not a racist or sexist. It seems to me that in the eyes of the men, I must have been wrong because I got angry. That’s when i lost respect for my husband and made a plan to leave.

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RACISM

Switzerland sticks with mountain name despite ‘racist’ ties

A Swiss town on Wednesday refused to rename the Agassizhorn mountain despite its namesake's espousal of racist views.

Switzerland sticks with mountain name despite 'racist' ties
Switzerland's Agassizhorn. Image: Creative Commons

The 19th century Swiss geologist Louis Agassiz was known for research into fish, fossils and glaciers, but he has also been criticised in recent years for defending racist ideas.

After emigrating to the United States in 1846, Agassiz argued for racial segregation and hierarchies, and fiercely attacked Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

IN PICTURES: Powerful images from anti-racism protests across Switzerland 

But mayor of the town of Grindelwald, Beat Bucher, disagreed with those who wanted to change the peak's name, saying: “We cannot erase the stains of history.”

In a reference to the central Swiss summit, Bucher added: “It is better to accept it with its positive and negative aspects.”

The mountain peak, at just under 4,000 metres (13,000 feet) is shared by two other municipalities, Guttannen and Fieschertal, which had already rejected a bid to rename it.

A fresh effort was made after the killing in late May of George Floyd, an African American asphyxiated by a white police officer, generated a global wave of revulsion against racist symbols.

A similar push to rename the mountain was rejected in 2007. 

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