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Judge rules lifelong sentence valid

The first person to be convicted under new rules on lifelong imprisonment for dangerous criminals in Switzerland has had his appeal rejected.

A court in canton Thurgau decided that the man’s sentence, for having stabbed a prostitute to death, was valid because there was a high risk of reoffending.

In 2004 the population voted in favour of a law which called for offenders found guilty of sexual and violent crimes to be handed lifelong sentences if they failed a one-off psychological assessment at the time of conviction. It was based on a people’s initiative launched by a group of crime victims and families of victims.

The government had rejected the proposal amid concerns that it would not comply with the European Convention on Human Rights. The authorities are currently working on how to integrate the new article into the Swiss Constitution, according to the justice ministry website.

The man in Tuesday’s court verdict must now serve out 20 years’ imprisonment before starting his life sentence.

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