Swiss attorney general appeals Islamic Council acquittals

Naim Cherni and Nicolas Blancho outside the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona in June 2018. Keystone

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland has filed an appeal against the acquittal of two leaders of the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (ICCS) who had been accused of terrorist propaganda.

This content was published on February 8, 2019 - 16:26

A third defendant has appealed against his conviction, Swiss public broadcaster RTS reported on Friday.

The attorney general decided to present an appeal to the Federal Court because the two first-instance acquittals “raise fundamental questions of criminal procedure”, according to his office.

A procedural technicality led the Federal Criminal Court to acquit Nicolas Blancho, president of the Islamic council, and its spokesman Qassim Illi.

The two men were accused of broadcasting propaganda videos in support of the terrorist group al-Qaeda.

The author of the films, Naïm Cherni, was given a 20-month suspended prison sentence. He is appealing his conviction, ICCS secretary-general Ferah Ulucay told RTS.

The three men in question have declined to comment on the legal proceedings.

+ Switzerland is home to multiple controversial Muslim leaders

Ulucay said his colleagues “still consider themselves innocent and are convinced that the Federal Court will prove them right”.

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