Swiss man cleared of participating in Vienna terror attack

Two men from Winterthur, Switzerland, were arrested in the wake of the November 2020 Vienna attack by an Islamic State supporter. Keystone / Florian Wieser

Swiss prosecutors have dropped a case against one of two men suspected of participating in the November 2020 terrorist attack in Vienna.

This content was published on January 14, 2022 minutes

The man, who was 24 years old at the time, visited the attacker in Vienna and stayed a night with him a few months before the attack. On November 2, an Islamic State (IS) supporter opened fire in the heart of the Austrian capital, killing four people and seriously injuring 23 others before being shot dead by police.

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) closed its case against the Swiss citizen for lack of evidence that he participated, the OAG told Swiss news agency Keystone-SDA on Friday, although he was found to have strong sympathy with IS ideology. He is still under investigation in a separate case for depiction of violence and possible violation of Swiss law banning membership of a terrorist organisation.

Proceedings against the second Swiss suspect are still under way but are in a final stage, the OAG said.

The two men – who were aged 18 and 24 at the time -- were arrested in Winterthur, northeast of Zurich, in November 2002 following the attack in Vienna. They were released from custody in April 2021.

Winterthur has a recent history of Islamic radicalisation. 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 jihadist fighters. A mosque in the city has also been closed down by the authorities.

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