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No amnesty for Swiss anti-fascism fighters

The Swiss House of Representatives has voted against granting an amnesty to Swiss people who fought against fascism in France and Spain (pictured). A majority backed the government's view that they had already been fully rehabilitated.

This content was published on March 7, 2000 - 11:40

The Swiss House of Representatives has voted against granting an amnesty to Swiss people who fought against fascism in France and Spain. A majority backed the government's view that they had already been fully rehabilitated.

The House decided by 82 votes to 53 not to adopt a motion proposed by its legal committee. The prevailing view was that the Swiss, who fought in the French Resistance during World War Two or in the international brigades during the Spanish Civil War, had been rehabilitated politically, morally and legally.

They received prison sentences or fines on their return to Switzerland. But the Swiss president, Adolf Ogi, told the assembly in a written statement that the fighters had all had their civil rights reinstated and their punishments withdrawn from the records.

Ogi said that even the conditions for a pardon could not be fulfilled. He said that since they had already been punished, a pardon would have no legal or practical significance. In addition, he said, it would be necessary to draw up a complete list of the people affected, and this was almost impossible.

The president also recalled that in 1994, the interior minister, Ruth Dreifuss, praised the commitment of those who fought in Spain against the fascist dictatorship. She said it had been a brave and necessary measure for the preservation of Spanish democracy.

From staff and wire reports

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