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Swiss Vote on Foreign Criminals
Swiss voters recently supported a referendum initiated by the far-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP) – the largest party in Switzerland – to throw out of their nation, all foreigners convicted of crimes. This proposal would force non-Swiss citizens to leave the country if they are found guilty of rape, acts of violence, drug trafficking, abuse of social aid; replacing the present practice of convicts being assessed by a judge and then being deported on a case by case basis rather than as a rule.
Undeniably, criminals and criminal cases (judiciary procedures) do cost a nation’s GDP to a very large extent. So much so that UK is paying murderers and rapists who agree to be deported from prison to their home countries an amount of £1,500, which collectively could sweep away £6.3 million pounds from UK’s economy. US “without regard to the existence of a treaty, [extradites] persons (other than citizens, nationals or permanent residents of the US), who have committed crimes of violence against nationals of the US in foreign countries.” Most countries do not allow extradition if the convict is charged with a political crime. Countries like Mexico, Canada and most European nations don’t allow extradition if the death penalty can be charged on the convicts. In India, Indian Penal Code, 1860 does apply to a foreigner “who has committed an offence within India notwithstanding that he was corporeally present outside.”
In countries like Switzerland and UK, the problem is that this issue is a potent election propaganda. If the new Swiss referendum is put into practise, this would increase the deportation level by threefold – for foreigners, who constitute 20% of the Swiss population, this is dire. This would also be contradicting the Swiss policy of freedom of movement & non-discrimination rules. Moreover, Switzerland, though not a formal part of EU, has agreed to EU’s code which allows EU citizens to stay in Switzerland without formal permission. Last year, the Swiss party SVP had successfully passed another referendum that banned the installation of minarets outside mosques. One would now hope the Swiss Parliament considers the issue logically than as a political propaganda before converting this into law.
By:- Sray Agarwal
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