Switzerland: UDC cleared of racial discrimination charges

Switzerland: UDC cleared of racial discrimination charges

On April 27 a court in ruled that the Swiss People's Party (UDC) will not be sued for racial discrimination.

The prosecutor in Valais had turned to the court after the party came out with a poster in the 2007 federal elections showing Muslims praying during a demonstration against the Mohammad cartoons in the Federal Square in Bern in 2006, under the slogan "Use your heads! Vote UDC. Switzerland, always free!"

Federal judge Dominique Favre says that even if it does show a lack of openness and respect, and thought it plays on fears, it does not present Muslims as being unequal and is not a violation of the penal code. The judge said that crticiism is accepatble in a democracy, even if it is sometimes extreme or in bad taste.

The UDC welcomed the decision. Alexandre Cipolla of the UDC in Valais says that their poster attacks only the extremist minority of Muslims. He said that if denouncing their discrimination against women or their attitude towards freedom of expression proof of lack of openness, than he accepts the charge.

Source: Le Monde (French)

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