Swiss court clears critics of Turkish president

The controversial poster was carried by protestors during a demonstration in the Swiss capital, Bern, five years ago. © Keystone/Peter Klaunzer

A district court in Switzerland has acquitted four defendants accused of inciting violence against the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

This content was published on March 9, 2022 - 13:57

The judge ruled that a controversial banner shown by protesters at a 2017 demonstration in the Swiss capital, Bern, had symbolic value and should not be taken as direct call to action.

The verdict was announced on Wednesday and it can still be appealed at a higher court.

The banner read “Kill Erdogan with his own weapons” and was brought to a demonstration by a fringe group of activists.

The main protest was organised by Kurdish groups and left-wing Swiss parties against the Turkish government, eight months after a failed coup against Erdogan.

The defence had called for an acquittal, while the prosecutor demanded fines for the four protestors.

Diplomatic protest

The demonstration prompted several diplomatic interventions by Turkey which asked for an investigation into the protesters and an end to alleged Swiss support of terrorist organisations.

A total of ten people were implicated by the investigation. Only six of them could be identified, the prosecutor said during the trial.

Two of them agreed to pay a fine by police without a trial, while the four others took the case to the court.

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

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