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On March 29th 2001, the police department of Neuchatel refused to the Swiss Raelian movement the authorization to put posters from April 2th to April 13th 2001 on the ground of article 19 of the police department rules. This article allows the police department to forbid “illegal posters” or “posters threating morals“
On April 22th 2005, the administrative tribunal of Neuchatel rejected the appeal from the movement. On September 20th 2005, the federal tribunal rejected the appeal (1P.336/2005) on the ground that the interdiction of these posters was necessary “in a democratic society for the protection of morals“.
On April 10th 2006, the movement filed a case with the ECHR (see below) arguing that the interdiction to display their posters was a violation of articles 9 and 10 of the Convention. On May 20th 2008, the ECHR communicated the case to the agent of Switzerland with questions to be answered within 16 weeks. On September 9th 2008, the agent for the government submitted his observations answered on November 4th 2008 by the applicant. The Swiss Raelian movement was represented by Me Elie Elkaim (Lausanne).
On January 13th 2011, the E.C.H.R ruled by 5 to 2 votes there was no violation of article 10 of the Convention on the ground that the Swiss State benefits of a “margin of appreciation” about the use of its public space and the State has reasonable grounds to forbid the posters (59). The Court didn’t examine the allegation of violation of article 9 of the Convention.
In their dissenting opinion Judges Rozakis and Vajic expressed that the movement was not forbidden in Switzerland and should be able to promote by posters its ideas (3.a) and its non forbidden website (3.b).