Switzerland compelled by ECHR to pay damages to a beggar from Romania for giving her a too high fine

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Switzerland was sentenced to the ECHR to pay moral damages to a woman from Romania, for giving her a too high fine for begging on a public road in Geneva. The beggar, born in Romania in 1992, is a Roma.

“ECHR considers that the sanction applied to the petitioner was not proportionate either to the aim of fighting against organized crime, or to the one targeting the protection of the rights of pedestrians, residents and owners of stores”, reads the judiciary body of the Council of Europe based in Strasbourg.

The Roma woman, born in 1992, would be illiterate and was sentenced to pay 500 Swiss francs in January 2014 as fine for begging on a public road. The young woman had no job and received no social aid. As she could not pay the fine, she was placed under provisional custody.

“Being in a visible vulnerable situation, the petitioner had the right, inherent to the human dignity, to be able to express her hard condition and to try to ensure the basic needs through begging,” ECHR further argues.

The court notes that Switzerland has broken article 8 of the European Convention for Human Rights, an article that protects the observance of private and family life, and thus, it has to pay EUR 992 as moral damages to the plaintiff.

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