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Anti-terrorism Switzerland pursues dozens of cases against jihadi suspects

jihadists in Syria

Some 13 people have returned to Switzerland from Syria and Iraq.

(Keystone)

Switzerland’s Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is currently pursuing criminal proceedings in some 70 cases linked to jihadi terrorism, including against returning “jihadi travellers”. 

Allegations include propaganda and recruiting for terrorist organizations, providing them with funding, and going to fight for them notably in Syria and Iraq. 

“Most cases have been opened under Article 2 of the federal law banning Al-Qaeda, Islamic State and associated groups, as well as on suspicion of supporting and belonging to a criminal organisation,” the OAG told Swiss news agency Keystone-SDA on Wednesday. 

These investigations have so far given rise to seven judgments and eleven penal orders, according to the OAG. 

Swiss newspaper La Liberté reported on Tuesday that all the jihadists who had returned to Switzerland were either in detention or under judicial surveillance by the authorities. 

Questioned on this, the OAG said all individuals identified by the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) as returning jihadists either have been or are currently subject to criminal proceedings by the OAG, with the exception of people who were minors at the time of their return. 

At least 13 returnees

The FIS said recently that some 20 jihadists with Swiss or dual nationality are currently in the conflict zone in Syria and Iraq. Since 2001 it has recorded 78 departures to Syria and Iraq, 15 to Somalia, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and one to the Philippines. 

There has been no record of Swiss “jihadi travellers” leaving the country since 2016. The FIS said in November that out of the 93 people recorded as leaving since 2001, 33 people had died (27 deaths confirmed) and 16 had returned to Switzerland (13 cases confirmed). 

The Swiss government said in March that Swiss citizens who went to Syria and Iraq to join Islamic State should face trial there if possible. It  rejected calls to actively repatriate them.


Keystone-SDA/jc

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