Jump to content
Your browser is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this websites. Learn how to update your browser[Close]

Rudolf Friedrich


‘Anti-Blocher’ former justice minister dies


Fezzing the music: Rudolf Friedrich taking part, when justice minister, in the traditional Sechseläuten procession through Zurich on April 18, 1983 (Keystone)

Fezzing the music: Rudolf Friedrich taking part, when justice minister, in the traditional Sechseläuten procession through Zurich on April 18, 1983

(Keystone)

Former Justice Minister Rudolf Friedrich has died aged 90. He was known as a hardline law and order politician during much of his career. He later adopted more liberal views, promoting Switzerland's opening to Europe.

His centre-right Radical Party on Monday described Friedrich as an "honest and forthright personality".

Friedrich was elected to the seven-member cabinet in 1982, picking up the justice portfolio. Two years later he stepped down, citing health reasons.

His name was attached to a law limiting the acquisition of Swiss property by non-Swiss residents.

He also launched two reforms to the asylum law to cope with the influx of immigrants – primarily Tamils – at the beginning of the 1980s.

In 1983, he was criticised for ordering the closure of the Bern office of the Russian news agency Novosti because it was considered subversive and engaged in spying.

Friedrich was born into a family of entrepreneurs in Winterthur in 1923 and studied law at the University of Zurich. In 1957 he opened his own law firm in his home town.

During his political carreer he represented the Radical Party in local, cantonal and national parliaments from 1962 to 1982.

Friedrich pushed for a strong national defence as a guarantee of Swiss neutrality and independence as defence expert in House of Representatives form 1975 to 1982.

Explosion

On August 7, 1984, his house was attacked. No one was injured in the explosion – which has never been fully explained – but a wave of arrests followed among the Winterthur youth scene.

As an ex-cabinet minister, Friedrich pushed for Swiss membership of the United Nations and the European Economic Area, a halfway house to the European Union.

Other roles included being founder of the Swiss Helsinki Association, president of the Pro Juventute youth foundation and a board member of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper, in which he frequently shared his opinions.

These included direct criticism of Christoph Blocher, billionaire figurehead of the rightwing Swiss People’s Party, whose election to the cabinet in 2003 he described as a “misfortune”.

swissinfo.ch and agencies



Links

Copyright

All rights reserved. The content of the website by swissinfo.ch is copyrighted. It is intended for private use only. Any other use of the website content beyond the use stipulated above, particularly the distribution, modification, transmission, storage and copying requires prior written consent of swissinfo.ch. Should you be interested in any such use of the website content, please contact us via contact@swissinfo.ch.

As regards the use for private purposes, it is only permitted to use a hyperlink to specific content, and to place it on your own website or a website of third parties. The swissinfo.ch website content may only be embedded in an ad-free environment without any modifications. Specifically applying to all software, folders, data and their content provided for download by the swissinfo.ch website, a basic, non-exclusive and non-transferable license is granted that is restricted to the one-time downloading and saving of said data on private devices. All other rights remain the property of swissinfo.ch. In particular, any sale or commercial use of these data is prohibited.

×