Swiss jihadist gets 15 years for terror plots

The Palais de Justice in Paris, France. Robin Benzriheim on Unsplash

A French court has sentenced a Swiss man to 15 years in prison for terror-related charges after finding him guilty of recruiting a group of men online to prepare terror attacks in France and Switzerland.

This content was published on January 15, 2021 - 19:27

The 31-year-old from Yverdon, canton Vaud, was given a 15 year sentence, accompanied by a 10-year period of unconditional imprisonment, and handed a life ban for entry on French territory.

The Paris-based cour d'assises spéciale [criminal court] found him guilty of conspiring to set up terror attacks, of preparing trips to Syria and of spreading jihadist propaganda.

It also gave prison sentences ranging from three and a half years to 12 years to six other co-defendants.

The prosecution described the online group they created an “incubator” for terror projects and not a simple chat site, as defence lawyers had argued.

The court heard that for months the seven radicalised men had communicated via encrypted online messages about terror attacks and how to prepare them. The Swiss man had outlined how they should be carried out and had suggested potential targets. He had also chosen the most ideal candidates to go through with the attacks, distributed the other responsibilities and proposed to get hold of weapons.

Investigators found that the Swiss man was also violent towards his wife and neighbours, and had learned how to fire a gun and tested explosives, the prosecution said.

The Swiss man’s lawyers admitted that he had used extremely violent language online but argued that he had never intended to act on his words.

His lawyers requested part of the 15-year prison sentence to be spent in Switzerland.

Swiss public television, RTS, revealed this week that the Swiss defendant had been arrested in November 2017 when he travelled to France. During the police operation, other individuals were arrested in the Paris and Alpes-Maritimes regions.

During his appearance in court on Tuesday, the Swiss had expressed his regrets and asked the court to “give him a chance”.

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