Court upholds fine against nude hiker

ZURICH Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:38am EST

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ZURICH (Reuters) - Hikers crossing the Alps in the nude may get more than just a chill after Switzerland's top court ruled they may be fined, validating a conservative region's bid to quash the practice.

On Thursday a court rejected the appeal of a man slapped with a 100 Swiss franc ($109) fine. The man had walked naked past a family with small children at a picnic area and a Christian rehabilitation center for drug addicts one Sunday afternoon in the eastern canton (state) of Appenzell Ausserrhoden.

"The fundamental right to personal freedom is only marginally, if at all, infringed upon by a ban on hiking naked in a public area," the court said in a statement.

The mountainous cantons of Appenzell Innerrhoden and Appenzell Ausserrhoden, which only gave women the right to vote two decades ago, are popular among nude hiking enthusiasts.

Naked hiking is not illegal in Switzerland but it is possible for individual Swiss cantons to apply indecency laws.

(Additional reporting by Caroline Copley)

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