Swiss Vote to Expel Foreign Criminals

53% vote in favor of referendum
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2010 8:04 AM CST
A sign outside a school in the center of Geneva, Switzerland, identifies it has a polling station for a referendum on deporting criminal foreigners from Switzerland.   (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

(Newser) – The Swiss have voted narrowly in favor of automatically deporting foreign nationals guilty of crimes including murder, drug dealing, and social security fraud. Around 53% of voters backed the referendum, instigated by the right-wing Swiss People's Party, which proposed expelling foreign criminals after they had served their sentences in Swiss prisons, the BBC reports. Once implemented, it will boost the number of deportees from 350 to 1,500 each year.

Opponents labeled the measure too harsh, arguing that in some cases, it would violate international treaties requiring the country to not deport to countries that practice torture or the death penalty, the Financial Times notes. A counter-proposal backed by the Swiss government, which would have allowed deportations to be judged on a case-by-case basis, was rejected.

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