A Swiss court convicted a journalist on Tuesday for demonstrating electronic voting system fraud as he voted twice in an election in order to prove system failures. After being found guilty in early November, he was fined and ordered to pay a court cost, the Local Switzerland reported.
Joël Boissard, who works for Switzerland's RTS broadcaster, managed to vote twice in both federal and cantonal elections on March 8, 2015 as the Swiss authorities sent him two sets of voting documents, firstly as a Swiss resident in France and then as a resident of Geneva.
Journalist Boissard tried to draw attention to the fact that the electronic voting system allowed him to vote twice and notified authorities after the incident, who then reported him to the prosecutor's office in Geneva.
The court in Bern ruled that Boissard intentionally acted illegally. However, he argued that the court's decision "takes no account of the fact that he acted not with intent to commit fraud but solely to draw attention to a matter of public interest."
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned the Swiss court's decision saying it regards Boissard's criminal conviction "as an extraordinary attack on the media's freedom." Boissard has appealed the ruling for violating freedom of the press and the court is expected to hold a public hearing in Jan. 2017. "According to his lawyer, Jamil Soussi, the European Court of Human Rights has in the past ruled in favor of journalists who broke the law solely because it was the only way to draw attention to serious problems," RSF said in a press release on Tuesday. "In this case, Boissard used the only way possible to confirm that the electronic voting system was flawed," it added.
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