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Old 20.04.2007, 18:28
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basic civil rights rules?

Having grown up in the US, there are things I know about what we would call "basic rights", which are largely the things laid out in our Bill of Rights (though not all of them), e.g. the right to refuse to answer questions posed by police, the right to a free attorney, rules against racial discrimination, etc.

I don't expect these things to be the same here - each country's "social contract" is a bit different - a lesson a lot of Americans learn when they go and do something foolish in Mexico, which has a justice system quite different from that in the US.

However, I don't know the comparable rules in Switzerland. I did a few google searches but didn't really come up with a good set of search terms - does anyone have a good resource that talks about this sort of thing? I'm not planning on going on a crime spree, just curious what the differences are.
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Old 20.04.2007, 18:47
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Re: basic civil rights rules?

You can practise your Italian with this, under "Diritti fondamentali"

http://www.admin.ch/ch/i/rs/101/index.html
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Old 26.04.2007, 18:28
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Re: basic civil rights rules?

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You can practise your Italian with this, under "Diritti fondamentali"

http://www.admin.ch/ch/i/rs/101/index.html


The right to refuse to answer questions posed by police and the right to a free attorney exist here, too.

There are laws against racism but the few quota rules in existence are about gender issues.

Some other differences to the US:

Free speech in its unique American flavor isn't available here, since 1995 there is a law against genocide denying. Other than in Austria and Germany, nobody was convicted to a jail term so far. But recently a Turkish nationalist politician was convicted to a 3000 Francs fine after repeated public denial of the Armenian genocide in Switzerland. It has impacted Turkish-Swiss relations quite a bit.

In some cantons it is illegal to disguise your identity (read: cover your face) when participating at a demonstration. Not in Ticino but keep this in mind if you plan to "celebrate" the 1. Mai in Zürich

First aider laws are different, too. You must help somebody in need if you can without endangering yourself. (Nobody ever got convicted because of unsuccessful help.)

Tobacco, Beer and Wine: 16
Liquor and Alcopops: 18

That about covers it
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Old 26.04.2007, 18:59
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Re: basic civil rights rules?

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Free speech in its unique American flavor isn't available here,
Yep the Americans certainly have a unique flavor when it comes to free speech!
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Old 26.04.2007, 19:17
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Re: basic civil rights rules?

Thx for the tips. I'll bin the balaclava then (joking! mod).
Anything you'd like to share on social issues posts round here?
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Old 26.04.2007, 21:03
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Re: basic civil rights rules?

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Yep the Americans certainly have a unique flavor when it comes to free speech!
Yes, the Americans have quite a unique emphasis on free speech, especially when compared with some of the larger European countries.

Holocaust denial and incitement of the people are tolerated because of free speech. Internet governance is nearly nonexistant, especially in comparision to some of the larger European countries (e.g. Nazi emblems).

I'm not saying that free speech is absolute in the USA or that the liberties will always stay the same, but their tolerance usually is way higher than what Europeans probably would tolerate (see Westboro Baptist Church).

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Thx for the tips. I'll bin the balaclava then (joking! mod).
Anything you'd like to share on social issues posts round here?


I plan to do so, but it'll take some time until I'm through all the threads that I want to comment.
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Old 27.04.2007, 08:19
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Re: basic civil rights rules?

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I'm not saying that free speech is absolute in the USA or that the liberties will always stay the same,
Very true: Section 215 of the Patriot Act violates the Constitution It violates the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech by prohibiting the recipients of search orders from telling others about those orders, even where there is no real need for secrecy.

And:

http://www.cnn.com/2003/SHOWBIZ/Musi...e.chicks.reut/


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Old 27.04.2007, 08:35
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Re: basic civil rights rules?

A few months ago while I was looking for some classes, I found one about exactly what you ask. It described your civil rights and obligations in Switzerland. You should check your local Migros School or the free university {Universite Popular, here is Lausanne} to see if they have something similar in your area. I was tempted to take that class then got distracted with classes on Japanese flower arranging & making complicated petit-fours...

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Old 20.05.2007, 16:49
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Re: basic civil rights rules?

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Yep the Americans certainly have a unique flavor when it comes to free speech!
Of course they do!!
As long as you say Bush is right, you can say it in many different flavours.
As a matter of fact, i listened lately the last public statements of the people in Guantanamo. they were given in their annual thanking press conference, of couse, at the Ritz.
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Old 21.05.2007, 11:36
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Re: basic civil rights rules?

Of course it all starts with the Constitution:
http://www.admin.ch/ch/itl/rs/1/c101ENG.pdf
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Old 15.03.2011, 11:58
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Re: basic civil rights rules?

If you have bad memory, right them all over your body.

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Old 15.03.2011, 12:33
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Re: basic civil rights rules?

Ha ha - he wrote his 4 backwards

(Why are we waking up a 2007 thread for this, again?)
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Old 27.03.2011, 03:20
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Re: basic civil rights rules?

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Yes, the Americans have quite a unique emphasis on free speech, especially when compared with some of the larger European countries.

Holocaust denial and incitement of the people are tolerated because of free speech. Internet governance is nearly nonexistant, especially in comparision to some of the larger European countries (e.g. Nazi emblems).

I'm not saying that free speech is absolute in the USA or that the liberties will always stay the same, but their tolerance usually is way higher than what Europeans probably would tolerate (see Westboro Baptist Church).





I plan to do so, but it'll take some time until I'm through all the threads that I want to comment.
I think the difference with Americans and continental Europeans (or even Brits from what I've seen) is that Western Europeans think freedom of speech is good depending on its practicality or utility. Basically "what are you using it for"?

Americans think, in general, all speech is good, in spite of the reason for it.

The only real laws against speech in America is immediate threats. You can not tell someone you will kill them, but if if you say "one day I will kill you" and it is understood it is in the future at some unknown date, that is perfectly legal, as it is not an "immediate danger".

You can also not threaten the life of the President of the United States in any way.

You can not cause a panic on purpose, like "yell fire in a crowded theater".

There are a few more things, some cities have laws against cursing in public places. For example, the place I went to high school, Virginia Beach, Virginia, has a law against using "curse words" on the boardwalk at the beach (however you can curse as much as you want everywhere else in the city). They want the beach to be a friendly "family environment" for tourism. The reality is that is only during the day, plenty of drunks cursing at night, and I've never herd of anyone being ticketed, but that is another difference in America. We often selectively enforce the law (unlike Switzerland or Germany where "the law is the law") Americans routinely break various laws, often in front of police, and it is understood it is "not a big deal", but this also depends on where you live in America.

Personally, despite growing up as a visible minority in America, I could never support laws against hate speech or denial.

For the same reason Malcolm X would not have:

I have more respect for a man who lets me know where he stands, even if he's wrong. Than the one who comes up like an angel and is nothing but a devil.
  • Malcolm X (0Oxford Union Debate (December 3, 1964)).
Blocking speech tends to just put it underground. I want to know what my enemies think, thanks very much. I also don't know or understand who can define what is "right to say", so maybe one day someone will want to limit what I say, if I limit another person's voice. I can't support that.

I guess my attitude is pretty American...
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Old 27.03.2011, 10:16
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Re: basic civil rights rules?

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but if if you say "one day I will kill you" and it is understood it is in the future at some unknown date, that is perfectly legal, as it is not an "immediate danger".


Please virus scan your computer, it appears it may have the Win32.Bollox virus and is causing your keyboard to type utter nonsense.



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You can also not threaten the life of the President of the United States in any way.

Or anyone else for that matter....
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Old 27.03.2011, 14:41
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Re: basic civil rights rules?

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Please virus scan your computer, it appears it may have the Win32.Bollox virus and is causing your keyboard to type utter nonsense.





Or anyone else for that matter....


sigh...why is it that people who don't know what they are talking about always speak first.

If you are going to state something like that, it might be behoove you to actually show an example of a law.


As with most things in the United States, it depends where you live, as these laws are local.

I should have qualified the statement, but...for example.

Since you use the word bollux, I'm thinking you were not born in the U.S.

Exactly how long have you lived there and what state that you can make a definitive statement about me speaking nonsense. I suggest you do some homework, it leads to less public embarrassment.




1) This is commonly used where the Defendant misses the Plaintiff/Victim
- Defendant acts with intent to cause a harmful or offensive contact with plaintiff; AND
- Plaintiff is put in reasonable fear or apprehension of such imminent contact

2) This is commonly used where the Defendant does not intend to hit Plaintiff, but to scare (cause reasonable fear or apprehension) them instead:
- Defendant acts with intent to put plaintiff in fear or apprehension of harmful or offensive contact; AND
- Plaintiff is actually put in such fear (though defendant never intended any actual contact).


Example of actually state laws in America.


"In order to sustain conviction of threatening to take the life of another, the threat must be seriously made and not merely the outburst of one's temper in heat of passion, and a rash, inconsiderate threat will not suffice to support a conviction." Brown v. State, 142 Tex.Crim. 405, 154 S.W.2d 464 (Cr.App. 1941).



Common Law court decisions matter in America (as in the UK), but for specific codified law, we can use my state of Virginia as an example:



Virginia Code § 18.2-57, dealing with Assault.


Words alone do not constitute an assault. Bennett v. Com., 2001, 546 S.E.2d 209, 35 Va.App. 442.

http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...00+cod+18.2-60

The Virginia code says:
[H 1120] Approved April 6, 2002

Article 2.2. Terrorism Offenses.

§ 18.2-60. Threats of death or bodily injury to a person or member of his family; threats to commit serious bodily harm to persons on school property; penalty.

BUT....what does that mean...

A. 1. Any person who knowingly communicates, in a writing, including an electronically transmitted communication producing a visual or electronic message, a threat to kill or do bodily injury to a person, regarding that person or any member of his family, and the threat places such person in reasonable apprehension of death or bodily injury to himself or his family member, is guilty of a Class 6 felony. However, any person who violates this subsection with the intent to commit an act of terrorism as defined in § 18.2-46.4 is guilty of a Class 5 felony.


2. Any person who communicates a threat, in a writing, including an electronically transmitted communication producing a visual or electronic message, to kill or do bodily harm, (i) on the grounds or premises of any elementary, middle or secondary school property, (ii) at any elementary, middle or secondary school-sponsored event or (iii) on a school bus to any person or persons, regardless of whether the person who is the object of the threat actually receives the threat, and the threat would place the person who is the object of the threat in reasonable apprehension of death or bodily harm, is guilty of a Class 6 felony.


B. Any person who orally makes a threat to any employee of any elementary, middle or secondary school, while on a school bus, on school property or at a school-sponsored activity, to kill or to do bodily injury to such person, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
A prosecution pursuant to this section may be either in the county, city or town in which the communication was made or received.



So if you aren't threatening anyone at school or work...you will get away with it.


In Virginia, the only type of threat that is illegal, that is not immediate is a "terrorist threat" especially one made by telephone or internet, that is a serious crime.


A. 1. Any person who knowingly communicates, in a writing, including an electronically transmitted communication producing a visual or electronic message, a threat to kill or do bodily injury to a person, regarding that person or any member of his family, and the threat places such person in reasonable apprehension of death or bodily injury to himself or his family member, is guilty of a Class 6 felony. However, any person who violates this subsection with the intent to commit an act of terrorism as defined in § 18.2-46.4 is guilty of a Class 5 felony.


Threatening someone to their face if it is seen as not immediate is not a crime per say. It is not a criminal case, but you might be able to sue them for money if suffered some type of mental problem, loss of work, etc.

Moral of the story, when in certain areas of America (most areas) NEVER write down a threat against someone. Just tell them to their face. You will likely get away with it.

If you want to know how I know this, my friend was threatened by his girlfriend's exhusband, in a public place, he said literally (in front of witnesses) "One day, I'm going to kill you and that b---h". She called the police. The police asked if he wrote it down, e-mailed it, etc. She said no, but she had 3 witnesses. They told her that they can't do anything as it was not an "immediate danger to her or her boyfriend's safety".

I also looked up my neighbor to the SOuth, the state of North Carolina:

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-277.1. Communicating threats. (1999)

(a) A person is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor if without lawful authority:


(1) He willfully threatens to physically injure the person or that person's child, sibling, spouse, or dependent or willfully threatens to damage the property of another;


(2) The threat is communicated to the other person, orally, in writing, or by any other means;


(3) The threat is made in a manner and under circumstances which would cause a reasonable person to believe that the threat is likely to be carried out; and


(4) The person threatened believes that the threat will be carried out.


(b) A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.



So if you are not threatening a relative or someone who likely lives with you or is close to you an the threat is not thought to be reasonably carried out you usually don't have much of a case, so police will refuse to do anything. The burden of proof is usually on the person threatened to show that they believe fully that the person will act on the threat, usually due to a history of violence.

Now, I can't speak for 50 states in America, but my understanding is that this is not a strange situation.

At most the person will get a fine or maybe a temporary restraining order will be placed against them (if the threat is found to be imminent, then if they violate that they will be arrested, but there won't be jail time otherwise.


Please educate us with your superior knowledge of my country's legal system.

Last edited by AmericanGotWorkVisa; 27.03.2011 at 15:29.
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Old 27.03.2011, 14:47
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Re: basic civil rights rules?

I thought, this being the Swiss politics/news forum, that this might, just, be about Switzerland. Is it going back there, or should I simply delete all the off topic posts, or split the Thread and move all the US stuff to a new Thread in Off-topic?
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Old 27.03.2011, 15:01
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Re: basic civil rights rules?

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I thought, this being the Swiss politics/news forum, that this might, just, be about Switzerland. Is it going back there, or should I simply delete all the off topic posts, or split the Thread and move all the US stuff to a new Thread in Off-topic?

I was simply correcting someone who basically stated I was a liar.

If that is not allowed,then fine.

I was making a comparison to Switzerland vs America, based on another topic, so I was not off topic per se, specifically I compared the difference in freedom of speech, as the OP mentioned he was from America and he wanted to know the differences in ideas or laws about civil rights. Some other people mentioned that the U.S. has rather unique (for a developed nations) laws concerning freedom of speech.

I was simply trying to explain the difference in attitude from continental Europe to the U.S., which I believe fit in with the thread, at least how it was going.

Then some no-nothing came in and accused me of lying (with no evidence) should I just allow him to do so without correction so that other posters are misled?

If you want to cut off an arm because a finger is broken, that is your call. I would suggest deleting my last post and his post calling me a liar and continue if you feel the need to delete anything.

Personally I would actually like to know what are the limits to freedom of speech in Switzerland.

Can you threaten people? If not, under what case. I believe this fits in with the OP, as it falls in under "freedom of speech", which is usually considered a civil right.
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Old 27.03.2011, 15:12
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Re: basic civil rights rules?

For the most part I'd say it went pretty well off-topic 20.5.2007 with Europe, let alone Switzerland, hardly getting a look-in after that.
Maybe I'm wrong though. Sun shining, I'm going to get some fresh air. (very Off-Topic)
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Old 27.03.2011, 15:25
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Re: basic civil rights rules?

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Please educate us with your superior knowledge of my countries legal system.
It's the legal system of your country so it's country's not countries. I didn't read any of the rest of it.
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Old 27.03.2011, 15:29
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Re: basic civil rights rules?

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For the most part I'd say it went pretty well off-topic 20.5.2007 with Europe, let alone Switzerland, hardly getting a look-in after that.
Maybe I'm wrong though. Sun shining, I'm going to get some fresh air. (very Off-Topic)


I will try to look into laws concerning Switzerland, as I'm curious...I think that will definitely be on topic.
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