Non-integrated imam forced to leave Switzerland

The imam abused his wife who eventually fled to a women's shelter with their four children. Keystone / Vadim Ghirda

Switzerland’s top court has upheld a decision to not renew the residence permit of an imam from Kosovo guilty of domestic abuse.  

This content was published on October 15, 2019 - 14:50

The Federal Court on Tuesday upheld an earlier decision of the St Gallen court in eastern Switzerland where the man lives. The imam was found guilty of physically and sexually abusing his wife and did not let her venture out of the home without his consent.  

The couple has been living apart since the woman took refuge in a women’s shelter with her four children in December 2015. Two years later, the cantonal migration office refused to extend the man’s residence permit. The Kosovar had arrived in Switzerland at the age of 26 and has lived in the country for almost ten years.  

Standing before the Federal Court, the man invoked the protection of privacy, guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights. But the judges felt that his vision of women's rights and duties was clearly contrary to the law and values of Switzerland. 

In its judgement, the Federal Court wrote that various elements pointed to the fact that the imam had not assimilated Switzerland’s social and legal values and that he did not respect them. This was particularly true of the constitutional principle of equality between men and women, they said. 

The Federal Court also ordered the deportation of a second-generation Turkish immigrant who had committed 61 crimes within a two-year period. The 25-year-old was sentenced to 40 months imprisonment and will have to leave Switzerland after serving his sentence. Local and judicial authorities in canton Bern determined that integration had failed and that it was reasonable to send him to Turkey even though he had never lived there.

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