Swiss court fines Greenpeace activists

Protestors convicted after obstructing transports of spent fuel to reprocessing plants

Thirty-eight Greenpeace Switzerland activists were been convicted and fined by a regional tribunal last week. They were accused of repeatedly obstructing the transport of spent nuclear fuel from three Swiss nuclear power stations to reprocessing plants at La Hague in France and Sellafield in the UK. The organisation had been demonstrating its opposition to the recycling of spent nuclear fuel, which the Swiss government plans to phase out (ENDS Daily 8 March).

According to observers, the verdict is one of the toughest against Greenpeace Switzerland, which had hoped for an acquittal. The tribunal eventually reduced the fines proposed by prosecutors, but still imposed penalties of SFr400-SFr1,700 (euros 260-1100) per activist.

During the trial the organisation used arguments based on legitimate defence relative to public health and the environment. In particular they use two articles from the Swiss nuclear law that forbids submitting individuals to ionising radiation and imposes heavy fines for anyone breaking the law. It is likely that Greenpeace Switzerland will appeal against the verdict, but there is nothing official yet.

Follow Up:
Greenpeace Switzerland, tel: +41 1 447 4111.

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