First hand experience of a man from Kosovo who served his prison sentence and, after a life spent in Switzerland, was deported back to his country. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)
Bekim * emigrated to Switzerland from Kosovo when he was still a child and lived there 29 years of his life. Now, aged 34, after having served a seven-year prison sentence in Anstalten Witzwil in canton Bern he has been deported back to Kosovo with a ten year ban from returning to any country in the Schengen area.
He was jailed for his part in robberies with an organised criminal gang. Now, after time in prison, he has been sent back to a country he has visited as a tourist four times since leaving. The experience is proving harder than the jail term. He has no friends or relatives who can help him find a job and get back on track, a support network that he would have back in Switzerland.
The conservative right Swiss People’s party initiative to expel foreigners who have committed crimes was approved by 52% of voters in November 2010. Parliamentary discussions on its practical application of the resulting constitutional amendment are ongoing, and could be subject to another referendum.
The deportation of foreigners after they have served their sentence has been on the increase.
The Anstalten Witzwil prison director notes how, in recent years, more authorities have been deporting foreigners who commit crimes in Switzerland than before the initiative was passed. However, there aren’t yet statistics on how the trend has been developing.
* Name withheld under Swiss privacy law