Death penalty initiative withdrawn

Those behind a people’s initiative to restore capital punishment for murders involving sexual violence have withdrawn the initiative.

This content was published on August 25, 2010 - 08:49

On their website, the group behind the move said that the initiative, which has caused intense debate in Switzerland, was the only way for them to make the population aware of problems in the justice system.

The surprising turn in the story comes a day after the Federal Chancellery said the initiative met formal legal requirements. Its supporters would have had until February 24, 2012 to collect the 100,000 signatures needed to force a nationwide vote on the issue.

Switzerland outlawed the civil death penalty in the 1940s, and observers were sceptical whether the initiative would gain enough support. It also raised a number of legal questions.

The initiative had called for the Swiss Constitution to be modified to reintroduce the death penalty for people who commit murder “in combination with an act of a sexual nature against a child, sexual violence or rape”.

The group, made up of private individuals related to a victim, said that the initiative had been a way of airing their grievances, particularly concerning what they alleged was a bias towards perpetrators in the Swiss justice system. They also called on politicians to intervene.

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