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Dual-national question

Suspected terrorist could lose Swiss passport

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Switzerland wants to revoke the Swiss citizenship of a dual-national suspected of joining the Islamic State terror group. If it goes ahead, it’ll be the first time the corresponding law has been used in its more than 60-year existence. 

The State Secretariat for Migration said the 19-year-old Swiss-Italian is alleged to have joined the Islamic State terror group in Syria. The announcement was published in the most recent version of their official information bulletin. 

According to the citizenship law, dual-citizens can have their Swiss nationality revoked if their behaviour has a considerably detrimental effect on the interests or reputation of the country. 

The man has been asked to respond to the charges within a month. 

The State Secretariat for Migration said the authorities had started the process, because they would then be able to deny entry to Switzerland to an extremist who posed a threat to the country. 

If it goes ahead this will be the first time the federal authorities have applied a law that came into effect in 1953. 

The 20 Minuten newspaper said the man in question is thought to have left his home in Winterthur, in the canton of Zurich, for Syria in February 2015. 

Lea Wertheimer, a spokesperson for the state secretariat, told Swiss public television, SRF, the suspect was accused of committing “atrocities, human rights violations and war crimes”, which “pose a threat to Switzerland”. 

She added she had no information on his whereabouts. However, according to SRF, which spoke to war reporter Kurt Pelda, the man may have been killed a year ago in an air strike on the northern Syrian city of Kobane. 

Leaving to fight

The Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) examines how many Swiss leave the country to fight for jihadi causes. So far this year, there have been no cases, though 73 have been recorded in total.

The FIS is monitoring the social media activity of around 400 potential jihadis. Since the beginning of 2016, 12 individuals have come back to Switzerland after involvement in jihadi activities, and all of them were charged with illegal activities upon return. The federal prosecutor’s office is currently working on 60 such cases overall.

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