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Zurich police to disclose nationality of crime suspects

The vote was prompted by a decision by the local Zurich city council four years ago to stop the automatic publication of the nationalities of crime suspects in police reports. Ennio Leanza/Keystone

Voters in canton Zurich have approved the mandatory disclosure of the nationality of suspected offenders.

This content was published on March 7, 2021 - 13:27
swissinfo.ch/urs

More than 55% of voters came out in favour of the proposal on Sunday according to the authoritiesExternal link.

In the run-up to the ballot, supporters mainly from the centre-right claimed the regular mention of the nationality would contribute to more transparency.

However, a separate demand by the right-wing Swiss People’s Party to include a mention of a possible immigration background of suspects were thrown out by voters. Only 44% approved the proposal, falling short of a necessary majority.

The move was prompted by a decision by the local Zurich city council four years ago to stop the automatic publication of the nationalities of crime suspects in police reports, arguing it was discriminatory and misleading.

Sunday’s decision means that Zurich is only the third of 26 Swiss cantons to introduce a special law over the past decade.

Most cantons follow non-binding recommendations by the country’s police commanders approved in 2010 to mention the nationality of a suspect and victims as a rule besides their respective age. Exceptions are allowed for privacy reasons. Information about a possible immigration background should only be disclosed on request.

There have been growing calls by right-wing parties over the past 25 years for the disclosure of the nationality of suspects.

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