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Swiss Man Jailed for Anti-semitism

July 23, 1997
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A Swiss man has been sentenced to two months in prison for violating the country’s racial hatred laws. The District Court last week handed down the sentence against Erwin Kessler, who wrote in a brochure that the Jewish ritual slaughter of meat is equivalent to the Nazi killing of Jews during World War II.

The judges said that they had no choice but to send Kessler to jail, since they believed there was little likelihood that Kessler would change his views.

Shechitah, or Jewish ritual slaughter, has been forbidden in Switzerland for more than 100 years.

“This is an anti-Semitic law,” said Thomas Lyssy, vice president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Switzerland.

“But there is no chance that Switzerland will change the law, given the present political situation in the country,” Lyssy added.

He was referring to a growing anti-Semitic backlash here in the wake of calls from Jewish groups for Switzerland to confront its wartime ties to the Nazis and to restore the assets of Jews who opened secret bank accounts during the war.

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