Attorney general takes charge of investigation into Swiss ties to Vienna attack

A gunman shot and killed four people in the Austrian capital last Monday evening. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

Next week the federal prosecutor’s office will assume responsibility for criminal proceedings of two men arrested in Switzerland over alleged ties to the Vienna terrorist attacker.

This content was published on November 8, 2020 - 13:11

The transfer of the case from Canton Zurich to the federal level was confirmed by the attorney general’s office on Sunday following reports in the Sonntagsblick newspaper.

The two men, aged 18 and 24, were arrested in the Swiss city of Winterthur last Tuesday – the day after a gunman shot four people dead in the Austrian capital. Later in the week, the Swiss federal police confirmed that both men were already under criminal investigation for suspected terror-related offences.

On Sunday, the German-language paper SonntagsZeitung reportedExternal link that the two men arrested in Switzerland visited the attacker in Vienna in the summer according to unnamed sources. However, the paper noted it is unclear if it was simply a visit or whether there was any connection to the attack last week.

According to Keystone-SDA, the attorney general aims to clarify the relationship between the three men, timing of contact and how the relationship to the men in Switzerland happened.  The office is working closely with local official Federal Office of Police (fedpol), the Federal Intelligence Service, the juvenile justice system in Winterthur, the public prosecutor in Zurich and Austrian authorities.

Winterthur, located northeast of Zurich, has a recent history of Islamic radicalization. In recent years, an imam was deported from the city to Somalia for hate preaching and another person, dubbed the “Emir of Winterthur” was sentenced to a 50-month jail term for recruiting jihad fighters. A mosque in the city has also been closed down by the authorities.

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