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Opt-outs sought from UN terror blacklists

Parliament wants Switzerland to protect the fundamental rights of people blacklisted by the United Nations as terrorism suspects.

The House of Representatives on Thursday followed the Senate calling on the government to grant conditional opt-outs from UN sanctions.

Suspects should be taken off the blacklist if they haven’t had a trial within three years or if they haven’t been given a fair hearing, according to parliament.

The House approved the move despite opposition from Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey. She argued sanctions were binding for all UN members, adding that the UN had introduced reforms last year for the delisting procedures.

Senator Dick Marty, a renowned human rights expert who sponsored the motion, said Switzerland could be a champion of basic rights.

“Parliament gives another signal to reform the sanction system. I hope the decision will lead to further discussions in other countries and in the UN,” Marty told Swiss radio.

His motion was prompted by the case of an Egyptian-Italian banker, Youssef Nada, once suspected of having links to the militant al-Qaida movement.

Nada was only taken off the list at the end of 2009 after eight years. He repeatedly denied any connection with Islamic militants and claimed the unjustified sanctions destroyed his good reputation.

Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch


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