Muslims seek justice at European rights court against Swiss ban

The contriversial referendum was backed by the right-wing Swiss People's Party.

Muslims seek justice at European rights court against Swiss ban

A former official at a Geneva mosque has lodged a complaint at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg against Switzerland's ban on minarets, Swiss media reported on Wednesday.

Hafid Ouardiri, former spokesman at the mosque, told Television Suisse Romande he submitted an appeal saying the Swiss referendum contravened the European Convention on Human Rights, specifically the guarantee of freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination.

The Nov. 29 referendum barring the construction of new minarets, a part of mosques, in Switzerland proved an embarrassment for the Alpine country's neutral government.

Pierre de Preux, a lawyer for Ouardiri, was not immediately available to comment. He said on Tuesday that a letter had been sent to the Swiss federal government and all members of the Council of Europe informing them of Ouardiri's complaint.

Thorbjoern Jagland, Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, said last month that the Swiss vote raised concern over "whether fundamental rights of individuals, protected by international treaties, should be subject to popular votes."

"It would be up to the European Court of Human Rights to decide, should an application be submitted to the Court, whether the prohibition of building new minarets is compatible with the Convention," he said in a Nov. 30 statement.

Plaintiffs must exhaust the legal system in their country before bringing a complaint to Strasbourg, but Switzerland's highest court cannot hear cases stemming from a referendum.

The contriversial referendum was backed by the right-wing Swiss People's Party.

The non-EU country of nearly 7 million people is home to about 300,000 Muslims, mainly from Bosnia, Kosovo and Turkey.



Reuters

Last Mod: 16 Aralık 2009, 16:01
Add Comment