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Terror suspect One of three Iraqis jailed in terror case released

Court drawing of defendants and a police officer at Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona

(Keystone)


One of the three Iraqi men imprisoned in March on charges of plotting to make bombs and launch terror attacks in the name of the Islamic State group has been set free by Switzerland’s highest court.

The 32-year-old man had been sentenced to three and a half years in prison for helping the Islamic State group. He was released on Wednesday after appealing to the Federal Supreme Court in Lausanne, the highest court in Switzerland, Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitungexternal link reported on Sunday.

The case highlighted the challenges that European authorities face in handling refugees, mainly from the five-year war in Syria which has resulted in as many as 500,000 deaths.

According to the high courtexternal link, the man deserved credit for good behaviour whilst in detention and there was no legal basis for continuing to hold him before deportation to Iraq. The defendant, however, has also appealed against his expulsion from Switzerland.

The Federal Office of Police, or fedpolexternal link, continues to classify the man as a threat to internal and external Swiss security. The three men were arrested in 2014 after the first ever joint probe by Swiss federal police and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation into suspected terrorism on Swiss soil.

A tip, a plan, but no bomb

The case marked the first time a guilty verdict had been pronounced in Switzerland related to Islamic State activities. The three men were all sentenced to prison terms, the longest of which was four years and eight months. 

The judges ruled that the three Iraqis had been trying to bring information, materials and personnel into Switzerland necessary for carrying out an attack. They were charged by the Swiss Attorney General’s officeexternal link, which received a tip-off from foreign intelligence of an attack planned on Swiss soil.

All three men, who were Iraqi citizens, had fled the Middle East claiming persecution and had been granted asylum status in Switzerland. No bomb was produced, although the Swiss authorities believed an attack was planned for somewhere in the country.

 

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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