Second Swiss man cleared of involvement in Vienna attack

A flower in a bullet hole in Vienna, after the attacks of November 2020. Keystone / Christian Bruna

Federal prosecutors have now cleared both Swiss nationals suspected of supporting the November 2020 terror attack which killed four people in Vienna.

This content was published on February 3, 2022 - 19:05

The pair were arrested in November 2020 on suspicion of having made a “causal contribution to support or encourage the attack”. They were held in pre-trial detention until April 2021, when they were released.

After one was cleared last month of direct participation, the main accusations against the second have now also been dropped, according to media reports, confirmed by the Federal Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday.

Although the men visited the Islamic State (IS) member who carried out the attack a few months before November 2020, there is no evidence that they participated in it or knew of it beforehand, the prosecutor’s office found.

Separate conviction

One has however been convicted in a separate instance of violating the Swiss law prohibiting membership in a banned terrorist organisation, as well as for possessing violent images. He had an IS video showing decapitations on his mobile phone and showed the images to colleagues.

The man, who has not distanced himself from IS crimes, moved in Salafist circles and acted according to “deep ideological conviction”, prosecutors found. He has received a suspended prison sentence of six months with a probationary period of three years, along with a fine of CHF1,000 ($1,080).

While he will not be compensated for the 176 days in pre-trial detention, the man will receive CHF3,250 to compensate the widespread media coverage of his situation.

As for the second, while the major accusations against him have been dropped, he is still under investigation for less serious offences, the prosecutor’s office confirmed.

Four people were shot dead and several others were wounded in the November 2, 2020 attack in the Austrian capital. The shooter, an Islamic State sympathiser, was himself shot dead by police. The Swiss pair were arrested the following day in Winterthur, a city northeast of Zurich with a recent history of Islamic radicalisation.

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In compliance with the JTI standards

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