Swiss perspectives in 10 languages

Breach of military secrecy case back in court

The high-profile case of a former army colonel charged with breaching military secrecy is back in court today.

The former officer, Friedrich Nyffenegger, and four other people will have to answer charges before a military appeals court in Zurich.

The trial is being repeated after both the prosecution and the defence appealed against the sentence handed down by a military court in December 1998. The court gave Nyffenegger a suspended 15-month prison sentence for breaching military secrecy laws and military insubordination.

He was found guilty of gross negligence in the handling of a CD-Rom which contained secret plans for a military mobilisation.

The case goes back to 1989, when Nyffenegger was in charge of the events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the start of the Second World War, and some official publications outlining Switzerland’s role during the years of conflict.

The new trial is expected to last eight days and a verdict is due on July 5. However, the Swiss media appears to be tiring of the case. While about 40 journalists were accredited for the first trial 18 months ago, only 13 have been registered to cover the new trial.

In a separate, non-military trial last year, Nyfennegger was given a six month suspended sentence for embezzlement, fraud and falisification of documents in connection with the affair. However, he was cleared of charges of mismanagement.

The court also acquitted his three co-defendants who had been accused of siphoning off nearly SFr1 million francs.

swissinfo with agencies

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR