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Swiss campaign for death penalty referendum

Swiss death penalty advocates can start collecting signatures for a referendum that would revive capital punishment in the country after 68 years, the government said today.

An announcement in the federal bulletin says the documents submitted by campaigners meet formal legal requirements.

The group now has until February 24 2012 to collect 100,000 signatures for a popular vote to reintroduce capital punishment for murders involving sexual abuse.

Government spokesman Andre Simonazzi says authorities have yet to examine whether the death penalty would be constitutionally legal and in line with Switzerland's international obligations.

Switzerland struck capital punishment from its criminal statutes in 1942. The last military execution took place in 1944.