Brazilian woman slashed from head to foot by Swiss neo-Nazis
Jess McCabe // 13 February 2009
Update: the Swiss police have suggested that the attack was faked. However, I’m pretty sceptical – see AP for more info.
Paula Oliveira was attacked by skinheads near Zurich, after they heard her speaking on the phone in Portuguese. Reports Sky News:
Paula Oliveira, 26, was slashed more than 100 times during the 10-minute-long attack in Switzerland, according to reports.
Photographs of the woman’s stomach and legs with the letters SVP – Swiss People’s Party – have appeared in Brazilian newspapers.
Police were alerted to the attack by a man at Zurich train station who discovered the blood-soaked victim.
She told officers she had been pregnant with twins and was due to get married but had miscarried the babies after the attack.
It is reported that three skinheads, one with a Nazi symbol tattooed on his forehead, attacked Miss Oliveira as she made her way home.
She had been speaking in Portuguese to her mother on a cell phone when she was accosted, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry confirmed.
This is horrific. It also brings up issues relating to the SVP itself, which espouses a hard-right, anti-immigrant politics which clearly fed into and encouraged the attack:
It has spearheaded campaigns against Swiss integration in Europe and pressed to toughen asylum laws and make it easier to expel foreign nationals.
But the party is part of Switzerland’s broad coalition government and has never had links to neo-Nazism.
“This is a country of law, where every human being deserves respect,” Oskar Freysinger, a hardline nationalist lawmaker in the party, said.
“If that really was someone from our party, we wouldn’t hesitate for a second. That person would be immediately kicked out,” he added.
That just doesn’t fly, though, does it. If a political party revels in xenophobia and racism, which, to state the obvious, rely on the assumption that some human beings are worth more than other human beings, then they are responsible for what happens when racist thugs take their words as a license to carry out hate crimes.
I can’t help but feel that it was relevant that they attacked a pregnant woman, too. Was there a gendered element to this crime?