Swiss Cabinet maintains line over anti-racism law

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The cabinet does not think the Swiss anti-racism law should be changed - despite comments by the justice minister, Christoph Blocher, to the contrary. Blocher, a leading light of the rightwing Swiss People's Party, had remarked during his Turkish trip that part of the anti-racism law - which was adopted in 1994 and includes sections aimed at preventing revisionist views about the Holocaust - gave him a "headache".

The law has led to investigations in Switzerland against two Turks, including one historian, for allegedly denying the 1915 Armenian

Armenians say around 1.8 million of their people died as a result of a forced mass evacuation by the Turkish government during the Ottoman
Empire. Turkey puts the figure closer to 200,000.
Under Swiss law any act of denying, belittling or justifying genocide is a violation of the country's anti-racism legislation.

However, Blocher said at the time that it was ultimately up to the government, parliament and possibly the population, to decide on any changes.

According to Leuenberger, Blocher has told his cabinet colleagues that a working group at his ministry was already re-examining the law, in particular article 261bis, the cause of Blocher's headache.

The justice minister was ready to include a member of the Federal Commission Against Racism in this work, Leuenberger added, refusing to any further questions on the matter - which caused a media and
political outcry in Switzerland - saying the content of cabinet meetings was confidential.

For his part, Blocher, speaking at a different media conference earlier in the day, said he was simply waiting for the feedback from his working group by the end of the year.

"It's about making the anti-racism law clearer, more secure and unambiguous," he said.

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