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Criminal tweet Court upholds conviction for offensive tweet

A synagogue burns in Germany during Kristallnacht on November 10, 1938.

(Keystone)

Switzerland’s Federal Court has upheld the Zurich conviction of a man found guilty of violating anti-racism laws. Three years ago, the former school board member posted a Tweet calling for a Kristallnacht targeted at Muslims.

“Maybe we need another Kristallnacht … this time against the mosques,” wrote the former Swiss People’s Party member in June 2012. He deleted it shortly afterwards, calling it a “thoughtless” reaction to the acquittal of a Muslim man who had said it was “OK” for a man to beat his wife if she refused to have sex with him.

On Monday, the Federal Court upheld the original Zurich sentence of 75 days with the option to pay CHF120 ($119) per day rather than going to jail, plus a fine of CHF1,800. The Lausanne-based court stated that the tweet could not be disregarded as a merely “thoughtless” comment, and agreed that it was offensive to Muslims as well as Jews. It classified the tweet as hate speech and thus not protected under freedom of expression.

“Kristallnacht” (Night of the Broken Glass) refers to a pogrom against Jews in Germany in November 1938, during which nearly 100 people were killed and businesses and synagogues attacked while authorities looked on.

Before appealing to the Federal Court, the Twitter user had been sentenced at a Zurich district court in May 2014 and again at Zurich’s high court in April 2015. In the wake of the uproar, the man was pressured to resign from the Swiss People’s Party as well as his school board post.

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