Criminal proceedings against a Syrian asylum seeker suspected of being a member of the Islamic State (IS) group have been opened in Switzerland, according to a Swiss TV report. Two other Syrians who arrived with humanitarian visas were investigated by police as potential IS members.
The case of the three Syrians was recently reported in the EU terrorism situation and trend report 2017 (TE-SAT), released on June 15external link.
A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office confirmed to Swiss public television, SRFexternal link, that the federal prosecutor had opened criminal proceedings against one of the three Syrian asylum seekers without a humanitarian visa, and that a criminal case was pending.
However, no proceedings have been launched against the two other Syrians with humanitarian visas. The attorney general’s office did not explain why.
In an interview with SRF’s current affairs programme “10vor10” on Monday, terrorist expert Guido Steinberg from the Berlin’s Foundation for Science and Politics (SWP) warned about ‘false refugees’ who had been sent to Europe.
"Since the beginning of 2014, IS has been sending recruits from Syria and Iraq to build structures in Europe, and, if necessary, carry out attacks. They are, on the one hand, returnees, namely, Germans, French, British, who were trained and then sent back,” he declared.
“But they are also refugees, or rather false refugees - Syrians and Iraqis who have been sent to participate in these activities.”
In March the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) said 81 people motivated by extremist ideologies had travelled from Switzerland to conflict areas including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan between September 11, 2001 and February 2017. This number is up from 78 a month earlier. Twenty-two of those have been killed or are believed to be dead, the report said, while 14 have returned to Switzerland.
At the end of 2016, 497 people were being monitored by the FIS for spreading online jihadist propaganda in Switzerland or for using the country as a base for such activities. However, not all these are considered a threat to security, the report noted. Of 70 cases being investigated by federal police, about 60 are the subjects of a criminal proceeding.
Last year the Federal Police Office also issued 122 people with entry bans, of whom 107 were suspected of committing terror acts or of supporting banned groups.