Europe

Swiss campaign for death penalty withdrawn

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Swiss campaigners who won clearance to seek a referendum on reintroducing the death penalty have withdrawn their application only a day later.

They said they did not really believe in capital punishment, but wanted to highlight what they called a bias towards criminals over victims.

Under Swiss law, citizens can force a referendum on almost any issue if they collect 100,000 signatures.

The death penalty was abolished in Switzerland in 1942.

The government said on Tuesday that the campaigners could begin the process to initiate a referendum on bringing it back.

The campaigners had claimed to want to reintroduce capital punishment for murders involving sexual abuse, particularly of children.

But on Wednesday the group, apparently made up of private individuals related to a victim, said the initiative had been a way of airing their grievances. They called for further debate and for politicians to intervene.

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