Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Saturday, March 2, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Rights Court Condemns Switzerland for Fining Beggar

The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday faulted Switzerland for imposing a heavy fine on a Romanian woman for begging and then detaining her when she couldn't pay.

STRASBOURG, France (AFP) — The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday faulted Switzerland for imposing a heavy fine on a Romanian woman for begging and then detaining her when she couldn't pay.

The ethnic Roma in her late 20, was fined 500 Swiss francs ($563 at current rates) for begging on the street in Geneva in January 2014.

When the woman, who is illiterate and has no job or welfare payments, failed to pay up, she was placed in temporary detention for five days.

The court found the penalties against the woman were out of proportion with Switzerland's aims of fighting organized crime and protecting passers-by, residents and business owners.

The woman had "the right, which is inherent in human dignity, to express her distress and try to meet her needs by begging," the verdict said.

Switzerland had violated article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which guarantees the protection of private and family life, it said, ordering the country to pay the woman 922 euros ($1,118) in moral damages.

© Agence France-Presse

Categories / Appeals, Civil Rights, International

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.

Loading...