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Swiss court throws out Greenpeace appeal

A Swiss court has thrown out an appeal by 37 environmental activists, against their fines for illegally blocking the transportation of spent nuclear fuel rods.

The court in canton Aargau ordered the Greenpeace members to pay fines of between SFr400 and SFr1,700.

The 37 Greenpeace activists were appealing against a fine imposed by the authorties in December for illegally preventing the transport by rail of fuel rods.

The first incident occurred in March 1997, when the activists prevented fuel rods from leaving a processing plant in Beznau. A further blockade was mounted in 1998.

The activists were all given the opportunity to address the court. Many said they were motivated by strong personal feelings that what was being done was wrong. One activists said that often "it is necessary to break the law to prevent even bigger crimes from taking place".

They were also ordered to pay fines of SFr300 for trespassing and damage to property, which the court said amounted to SFr40,000.

swissinfo and agencies