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Writer of offensive tweet sentenced and fined

A Kristallnacht memorial in Rostock, Germany Keystone

A Zurich district court has found a former Swiss People’s Party member guilty of violating anti-racism laws. In June 2012, the man used Twitter to post the following comment: “Maybe we need a new Kristallnacht … this time against the mosques”.

The former school board member deleted the tweet after receiving negative feedback, but by then it had reached the Swiss media. He then claimed that the tweet was taken out of context, and that he was reacting to the acquittal of a Muslim man who had said it was “OK” for a man to beat his wife if she refused to have sex with him.

On Monday, the court ruled that his tweet was offensive to Muslims as well as Jews. “Kristallnacht” (Night of the Broken Glass) refers to a pogrom against Jews in Germany in November 1938, during which nearly 100 people were killed and businesses and synagogues attacked while authorities looked on.

The Twitter user – who was pressured to resign from the Swiss People’s Party as well as his school board post in the wake of the uproar – has been sentenced to 75 days with the option to pay CHF120 ($135) per day rather than going to jail. The court also issued a fine of CHF1,800.

Whether the man will accept the judgment is unclear; he told his lawyer that he wanted to think about it.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR