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Cantons may punish naked hikers

The Federal Court in Lausanne has ruled that cantons may impose penalties on those choosing to go hiking in the nude.

The court upheld a fine imposed by canton Appenzell Outer-Rhodes on a man who was caught rambling naked.

The story began in October 2009, when a woman reported the sight of a naked man wandering near a picnic area and a rehabilitation centre for drug addicts. The authorities fined him SFr100 ($109), but the 47-year-old naturist refused to pay.
The matter first came to court in May 2010; the man admitted that he had been hiking in the nude for two years, but insisted that he had not been behaving indecently. He was acquitted, so the prosecution decided to take the case to a higher court – which concluded that it was the duty of the local authorities to uphold public morality. Thursday’s ruling rejected the man’s appeal.

Judges in Lausanne decreed that cantons could legislate against and punish serious infringements of public decency.
Following a wave of naturist hikers in recent years, canton Appenzell Inner-Rhodes was the first canton to ban naked rambling.

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