2,500 franc fine for racial discrimination
Supreme court tightens sentence against SVP local politicians
The Aargau local politician Naveen Hofstetter did not want to accept the conviction for racial discrimination. But the Supreme Court now confirms the verdict – and even tightens the sentence.
The Aargau SVP local politician Naveen Hofstetter (40) has been found guilty of racial discrimination and incitement to hatred by the cantonal supreme court. The president of the local SVP party Rothrist collects a conditional fine of 70 daily rates of 170 francs. There is also a fine of CHF 2,500. The verdict is not yet legally binding.
Last year, Hofstetter had presented a blanket statement on Facebook in connection with marriage for all Africans as pedophile rapists. After being criticized for it, he deleted that part of the post. But he followed up by saying that “it’s just the reality” that “often the youngest girls are sexually harassed by men of African descent.” He also wrote in another post that marriage for all was a step towards further calls for child adoption from “unnatural partnerships”. The Aargau SP national councilor Gabriela Suter (49) then filed a criminal complaint against Hofstetter.
In the verbal justification, the Supreme Court spoke of a “conscious choice of words” by Hofstetter in the Facebook posts. He had time to write. According to the Supreme Court, the writer degraded an ethnic group and people because of their sexual orientation.
The High Court thus confirmed the judgment made in April by a single judge at the Zofingen District Court and also imposed a fine. Hofstetter had appealed the verdict and demanded an acquittal, as before the district court.
He had “expressed himself with the wrong words,” he said before the Supreme Court. His sentences were “insanely exaggerated”. He’s worried about the different cultures in Switzerland. His defense attorney pointed out that the statements were written in the context of a political dispute.
The prosecutor demanded a conviction and a fine of 90 daily rates and a fine of 4,000 francs. The statements in the Facebook posts were “not a quick shot”.
“They wanted attention”
The Supreme Court described the additional fine of 2,500 francs as a “significant sanction”. One may simplify and exaggerate in political discussions, said the court chairman. However, any criticism must be factual.
“They wanted attention, and they got it – but also from the police and prosecutors,” said the court chairman. There is a piece of brutalization of morals in politics. Legally, however, there is “no leeway”. (SDA/lha)