A report containing measures to punish terrorists and their supporters more severely – for example by increasing the maximum prison sentence from five to ten or more years – has been handed in to the Federal Office of Justice.
At present, Switzerland has only one federal anti-terrorism law, which bans the al-Qaeda and Islamic State terror groups in Switzerland. It prohibits participating in or supplying the banned organisations as well as distributing related propaganda. Recruitment for the organisations is also illegal.
The punishment for breaking the law is up to five years in prison.
According to the authors of the report, the new article in the penal code should enable the authorities to prosecute anyone who supports any terrorist organisation in any manner. It will apply to people who offer financial support or defend and act as apologists for terrorism.
In addition, a definition will be provided for what constitutes an act of terrorism.
“Switzerland today is in a strange situation, because terrorism isn’t mentioned in the penal code,” Geneva’s chief prosecutor Olivier Jornot, who helped draft the report, told Swiss public radio, RTS. “Supporting and defending terrorism fall through the cracks in the law.”
Beat Villiger, a politician in canton Zug, said that by tightening the penalties against this type of crime, Switzerland was aligning itself with the practices in other countries, such as Germany and France.
The Federal Office of Justice will now study the report before passing it on to the relevant parliamentary commissions.
swissinfo.ch and agencies