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Court ruling No gun licence for Swiss Islamic leader

bearded man

Nicolas Blancho led a controversial Islamic Central Council conference in Zurich in 2017.

(Keystone)

Nicolas Blancho, president of the Islamic Central Council of Switzerlandexternal link, will not receive a firearms licence following a Federal Court decision. 

In a ruling published on Tuesday, Switzerland's highest court confirmed that Bern’s Administrative Court was correct to decline Blancho’s 2014 request for a licence to buy a SIG Sauer P226 pistol. The Lausanne-based Federal Supreme Court ruled that Blancho had not sufficiently explained how the refusal of a firearms licence had violated his rights. 

In 2017, the Administrative Court ruled that Blancho could not sufficiently ensure a careful, responsible and lawful handling of such a weapon. The court stated that Blancho was too radical, and that he had failed to respect human rights and Swiss law.

Blancho, who wanted the pistol for sport as well as self-defence, said in a statement that he found the ruling humiliatingexternal link.

“As a Swiss citizen, I am not allowed to possess a weapon due to my Islamic convictions; this contradicts the principle of equality. It shows that being a Muslim makes me a special citizen who, a priori, is a physical danger. That offends me. It’s not fair,” wrote Blancho.

Danger to others 

According to the Bern-based administrative court, there were concrete indications that Blancho could pose a danger to others if he had a weapon. There was also no guarantee that Blancho would not pass a purchased weapon on to another person. Blancho had appealed to the higher court to overturn the lower one’s decision. 

On May 16 and 17, Blancho and two other men will stand trial before the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona. They are accused of violating Swiss law prohibiting groups related to al-Qaeda and Islamic State.


SDA-ATS, swissinfo.ch, sm

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