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Swiss government’s torture instruments act clears first hurdle 

Bern's Nationalrat full of parliamentarians. Wooden desks curve in a semicircle around a central point to the left. The room is wood-panelled with ornate balconies and arches above.
The government intends to regulate the import, transit and export of tools that can be used not only for torture but also capital punishment. Keystone / Anthony Anex

The Swiss government’s new act on instruments of torture that it presented last September has cleared its first hurdle, with the House of Representatives adopting the decree on Thursday. 

With the new law, the government intends to regulate the import, transit and export of tools that can be used not only for torture but also capital punishment.

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Instruments that can be used for other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment would also be covered by the law. 

With the bill, the Federal Council, Switzerland’s executive body, intends to implement the Council of Europe’s recommendation on controlling tools that could be used for torture or capital punishment. The government’s draft bill is based on the European Union’s Anti-Torture Regulation. 

A minority from the House of Representative’s preliminary consultation committee requested that the decree not be adopted, as spokesperson Manfred Bühler said they believed existing legislation was sufficient. 

Adapted from German by DeepL/kp/jdp

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