Swatch sues Malaysia over Pride watch seizure
  • Written by Robert Plummer
  • bbc news

Swiss watchmaker Swatch has announced that it has begun legal action against the Malaysian government for seizing LGBTQ-themed watches from its stores.

The move came after authorities seized 172 watches from the rainbow-colored Pride collection sold in shopping malls across Malaysia.

Swatch is seeking damages and the return of watches worth $14,000 (£10,700).

Homosexual acts are illegal in Malaysia under both secular and religious law.

Imprisonment or corporal punishment may be imposed.

Swatch filed the lawsuit in the Kuala Lumpur High Court last month. The case is scheduled to be heard later this week.

Malaysian authorities said the watches were seized in May by the Home Ministry’s Law Enforcement Division because they contained “LGBT elements.”

But Swatch said in its lawsuit that the watches “are in no way likely to disrupt public order or violate any law.”

The company said the foreclosure had damaged its trading reputation, adding: “The company’s results and trading volumes also suffered for some time immediately following the foreclosure.”

In its Pride-themed promotional campaign for the watch, Swatch describes it as “loud, proud, uplifting and full of meaning.”

The company calls the Pride flag “a symbol of humanity that speaks for all genders and all races.”

Swatch said in its lawsuit that the watches “do not promote sexual activity, but are merely fun and joyful expressions of peace and love.”

The lawsuit names the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Malaysian government as defendants.

Interior Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail has not yet commented publicly on the matter.

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