Switzerland’s legal system is currently investigating some 20 cases of individuals working with militant jihadist organisations, according to the Federal Prosecutor’s Office.
Of those, four have ties to the conflict in Syria, with the rest involved in other jihadist conflicts or in the dissemination of terrorist propaganda, often from within Switzerland.
According to the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, some of the 20 cases being investigated involve more than one person accused of supporting terrorist organisations.
The office also said that according to its current information, those travelling from Switzerland to participate in Holy Wars are generally divided into radical groups on-site after their individual skills and combat potential are assessed.
However, tracking and investigating them after they have left the country is extremely difficult, a spokesperson from the prosecutor’s office added, because communication means are often obscured and the support of local authorities is hard to count on.
Under Swiss law, anyone involved with or supporting “an organisation that keeps its structure and personnel composition secret and has the purpose to commit violent crimes or to enrich themselves with criminal means…shall be punished with imprisonment of up to five years or a fine”.
Earlier this month, Chief Federal Prosecutor Michael Lauber announced that four individuals were under investigation for heading to Syria to join the fight for an Islamic theocracy through groups like Islamic State (IS).
In June, the Swiss cabinet quoted figures from the Federal Intelligence Service claiming that around 40 people have left Switzerland to join the Jihadist movement in Syria. They face criminal prosecution if they return.
swissinfo.ch and agencies