Spreading Facebook posts about hate got Former Swiss SVP national councillor Yvan Perrin into legal troubles.
The federal judges justified the acquittal in particular by the lack of a legal basis.
Learn to spread love, because being acquitted of the charge of racial discrimination, brings your energy level down and is a waste of time and money.
Racial discrimination on Facebook?
The case concerns a polemic against Muslims launched between 4 and 6 April 2019 on Facebook. Perrin had commented on a newspaper article on the Qatar Papers, calling it ‘edifying on the financing of Islam to Muslim Brotherhood tendencies, in Switzerland in general and in La Chaux-de-Fonds in particular’. The Muslim association ‘De la lumière à l’excellence’, based in Martigny (VS), had filed a complaint.
The public prosecutor’s office accused Perrin of failing to delete, in April 2019, third-party comments on his Facebook wall that incited hatred and violence against people on the basis of their religious affiliation. These comments were readable by the general public.
The Federal Supreme Court excluded Perrin’s criminal liability because, as the owner of the Facebook account, he had no knowledge of the posts in question. The court found that the defendant had indeed created the risk of illegal posts by making his wall public and addressing sensitive political issues.
Perrin used his Facebook page as a discussion forum. By making it publicly accessible and dealing with sensitive political issues, he ‘created the risk that illegal content would be posted’. However, he was unaware of the presence of comments inciting hatred and violence on his profile before the criminal proceedings were initiated.
The court found that the defendant had nevertheless actually created the risk of illegal posts by making his wall public and addressing sensitive political issues.
However, according to the judges in Lausanne, this risk exceeds the socially permissible risk only if the person concerned was aware of the problematic content added to his wall. However, the owner of the Facebook account was not aware that illegal third-party content could be found there until the criminal proceedings were initiated.
Gap in the law: your ethical and moral responsibility
This ruling highlights the current lack of regulation in Swiss law, which contains no rules on the criminal liability of Internet service providers such as Facebook or users of such networks.
However, it is up to the ethical-moral responsibility of each of us to stop the dissemination of content that harms the peace of mind of others and especially of ourselves.
What does the holistic legal approach involve?
Above all, people who post negative content, which does not necessarily have to be of criminal relevance, highlight their state of mind and view of a situation. From a psychological point of view, these persons unconsciously expresses the attitude they have towards themselves. As a holistic lawyer, I make my client aware of this issue. As the outer world, mirrors the inner world, which at the wrong time, leads to wrong acts, which lead to legal proceedings.
If you have civil or criminal issues, contact me, Dominique Calcò Labbruzzo, on 00 41 78 876 82 43.
Federal court ruling 6B_1360/2021: