Swiss Council Decides To Expel Terrorists Even If Under Threat Of Death Or Torture

The Swiss Council of States voted on 19 March for the expulsion of terrorists to their country of origin regardless of the possibility of being subjected to death penalty or torture upon their return. 

Contrary to the advice of the Minister of Justice, Karin Keller-Sutter, the motion was finally passed by 22 votes to 18. 

The motion targets persons convicted for terrorist acts thus, posing a threat to the security of Switzerland even after the execution of their sentence. Many convicted terrorists have remained in Switzerland due to the principle of deportation to a safe destination. 

The Swiss Minister of Justice Pascale Bruderer expressed regret over the decision:

“No one can be returned to the territory of a state in which he is at risk of torture or any other cruel and inhuman punishment or treatment. Switzerland would play the game of executioners in contravention of the principle of non-refoulement,”

Bruderer is an elected socialist.

However, the independent Thomas Minder shared his view that the decision was made in view of the sovereignty of the country.

Alternate solutions have been considered.  For example, The Federal Council proposed to keep under house arrest persons convicted of terrorism who have served their sentences but cannot be expelled.

The Swiss Minister of Justice also suggested that some individuals expelled by the Federal Office of the Police for being a security threat will be accorded social assistance while those who were excluded by a body other than the Federal Office, will only be given emergency aid.

The minister has offered another solution whereby none the terrorists will be given social support but be entitled to emergency aid, “to prevent social assistance from being used to finance terrorism”.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International has criticized the Swiss parliament after it voted in favor of the motion.  The group said that it is in violation of international law and the decision was sending a negative signal to the rest of the world.

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