Swiss Court Rules Army Wrong to Ban Extremist Recruit

Swiss Court Rules Army Wrong to Ban Extremist Recruit

A court in Switzerland has ruled that the army was wrong to reject a recruit because he held far right-wing views.

According to an ATS news agency report, the army rejected a recruit from the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino after he admitted in an interview to having sympathies for the far right and supported some parts of fascist ideology.

Because of this and evidence on his Facebook page linking to right-wing organisations the army considered him a risk to handle service firearms. They declared him unfit for service.

Swiss men, with some exemptions, are liable for conscription when they reach the age of 19. Anyone declared unfit for service must pay an additional three per cent income tax until the age of 30, unless they have a disability. Women may serve as volunteers.

Last year a referendum was held in Switzerland to abolish conscription but it was overwhelmingly defeated.

Swiss law requires that a recruit is fit for service if, from a medical point of view, he meets the “physical, intellectual and psychological” requirements for military service.

However, the army decided that the Ticino recruit was unfit because his support for right-wing groups meant he was a risk when handling firearms.

According to the ATS report, the federal administrative court ruled that the army could not draw the conclusion that a recruit posed a risk because of his ideological views.

In what is considered a landmark ruling, the court said the army could not conclude that the man would use a military weapon in a bad way just because of his politics.