Nazi salute 'is not racist' if meant as a personal political statement, court rules
A Swiss court has said it is only illegal while being used to incite racial hatred
Thursday 22 May 2014
Performing a Nazi salute is neither illegal nor racist if it is meant as a “personal statement”, a Swiss court has ruled.
The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland decided that the Hitler salute is not always punishable and is only a crime if the perpetrator is trying to spread racial hatred.
Judges agreed that although offensive, the action was not illegal if it was only meant to express someone’s own ideological stance.
The ruling, which will serve as a precedent for Swiss law, came at the end of an appeal by a man charged with racial discrimination.
He had been convicted by another court after performing a Hitler salute in public at a demonstration by the far-right Swiss Nationalist Party (Pnos) in 2010.
The man allegedly held his arm up for 20 seconds while the 150 protesters recited the oath of the Old Swiss Confederacy taken from William Tell.
Walkers and police officers also witnessed the gesture at the famous Ruetli meadow above Lake Lucerne where, according to legend, the modern Swiss Confederation was formed in 1291.
The meadow is the site of annual celebrations for Swiss National Day and a frequent target for neo-Nazi events.
Performing the Hitler salute is a criminal offence in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.
Anti-racism campaigners have expressed concern over the latest ruling, which came months after a decision that ethnic slurs like “black swine” (Schwarze Sau) are insulting but do not constitute racial attacks.
The Swiss government previously decided not to ban Nazi symbols, including the swastika.
Additional reporting by AP
- 1 A daily walk 'can add seven years to your life'
- 2 Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
- 3 Chrissie Hynde says women who 'wear high heels and dress provocatively entice rapists'
- 4 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
- 5 News agency criticised for describing Amal Clooney as 'actor's wife' in coverage of human rights trial
University to mark down students who say 'illegal immigrants' in class
Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
The nine most warmongering countries in the world revealed
Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
VMAs 2015: Taylor Swift wins big, Kanye West runs for US president, Nicki Minaj calls out Miley Cyrus and all of tonight's winners
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...
£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...
£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...