Switzerland’s Federal Supreme Court in Lausanne found the far-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP) guilty of violating the country’s anti-racism laws.
It depicts shoes stepping over the Swiss flag with the inscription “Kosovars slash Swiss.”
The Court fined the party’s former Secretary General, Martin Baltisser, €21,500. The ruling said the poster depicted Kosovars “as inferior” while conveying the idea that people of Kosovo “are not welcome.” In effect, Switzerland’s Supreme Court upheld an earlier decision taken by a lower tribunal which ruled that the poster “fulfills fundamental conditions of discrimination and disparagement and the call to hate or discrimination.”
The Zurich prosecutor initiated the case in 2012, following a public complaint by two Kosovar nationals. According to SVP, the poster was based on a real incident, in which a single Kosovar man attempted to kill a Swiss Alpine wrestler with a knife in August 2011 near the Bernese Alps.
From a single case, SVP then proceeded with vilifying a whole ethnic group. In a statement, SVP claims the ruling infringes on freedom of expression, “silencing unwelcome political opponents.”
SVP has managed to become the biggest parliamentary group in Switzerland, with two seats in the seven-member executive. Switzerland’s biggest party is infamous for a number of controversial campaigns, using fear to rally public sentiment against immigrants and Muslims, including EU citizens.