Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Turkish politician loses final appeal against Swiss racism conviction, high court says

2007-12-19, Austria

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) - Switzerland's highest court confirmed the sentence against a Turkish politician convicted of racism for denying that the early 20th century killing of Armenians was genocide, according to a ruling published by the court Wednesday.

Dogu Perincek, the leader of the Turkish Workers' Party, lost his final appeal in Swiss courts against the conviction by a lower tribunal in March and a fine of 3,000 Swiss francs (US$2,450; ¤1,870). He now will appeal the ruling to the European Court of Human Rights, according to the office of his lawyer, Laurent Moreillon.

Perincek, who was also given a suspended penalty of 9,000 francs (US$7,360; ¤5,600) and ordered to pay 1,000 francs (US$820; ¤620) to an Armenian association, had repeatedly denied during a visit to Switzerland in 2005 that the World War I-era killings of up to 1.5 million Armenians amounted to genocide.

The Federal Tribunal said in its ruling that many historians, the European Parliament and numerous national parliaments considered the killings as genocide. In literature, the slaughter is mentioned as a classic example of genocide, the tribunal said.

The case was seen as a test of whether Switzerland's anti-racism law can be invoked against someone who denies that the Turks committed genocide in the killings. The legislation has previously been applied to Holocaust denial.

The case has caused diplomatic tension between Switzerland and Turkey, which insists Armenians were killed in civil unrest during the tumultuous collapse of the Ottoman Empire and not in a planned campaign of genocide.

Turkey has called the case against Perincek «inappropriate, baseless and debatable in every circumstance.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.



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