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Posters linking Gaddafi and crime spark inquiry

The Prosecutor's Office is investigating a Geneva politician whose party is using Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi’s image in a campaign to expel foreign criminals.

Voters are set to go to the ballot box on November 28 to determine whether foreigners who commit crimes in Switzerland should be automatically deported. A group that backs the measure, the Geneva Citizens Movement, created posters that show lists of daily police arrests and a photo of Gaddafi with the words “he wants to destroy Switzerland”.

The posters have not been put up yet, but Eric Stauffer, president of the group, was ordered to change them last week. He has been under police investigation since Friday for allegedly insulting a foreign state, a spokeswoman for the Prosecutor's Office said.

Stauffer says the posters are a matter of freedom of expression.

The federal government can order such an investigation if a foreign country requests it. While awaiting a decision, Geneva cantonal authorities reported Stauffer and his party to the Prosecutor's Office.

Authorities say such a poster complicates "efforts to restore a climate of trust” between Switzerland and Libya, whose relations have been strained since the arrest of Gaddafi’s son in Geneva in 2008.

On Monday, the Geneva Citizens Movement filed two appeals, one with the Federal Criminal Court and other with the Administrative Tribunal of Geneva.

Stauffer said he hoped for a decision next week. and agencies

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