Turkish politician loses first appeal against Swiss racism conviction, says lawyer

June 20, 2007 Associated Press

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) – An appeals court has confirmed the sentence against a Turkish politician convicted of racism for denying that the early 20th century killing of Armenians was genocide, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Laurent Moreillon said Dogu Perincek, the leader of the Turkish Workers’ Party, lost his first appeal at a court in the canton (state) of Vaud, where a lower tribunal in March convicted and ordered him to pay a fine of 3,000 Swiss francs (US$2,450; ¤1,870).
Perincek, who was also given a suspended penalty of 9,000 francs (US$7,360; ¤5,600) and ordered to pay 1,000 francs (US$820; ¤620) to an Armenian association, had repeatedly denied during a visit to Switzerland in 2005 that the World War I-era killings of up to 1.5 million Armenians amounted to genocide.

Moreillon said Perincek would now appeal to the Federal Tribunal, Switzerland’s supreme court.

The case was seen as a test of whether it is a violation of Switzerland’s anti-racism law to deny that the Turks committed genocide in the killings. The legislation has previously been applied to Holocaust denial.

The case has caused diplomatic tension between the Alpine republic and Turkey, which insists Armenians were killed in civil unrest during the tumultuous collapse of the Ottoman Empire and not in a planned campaign of genocide.

Turkey has called the case against Perincek «inappropriate, baseless and debatable in every circumstance.  Source