Kurdish brothers sentenced for online terrorism links

The wife of one of the accused was present in court for the verdict Keystone

The suspects in a high-profile case of inciting terrorism over the internet have been found guilty of supporting a criminal organisation and forging documents.

This content was published on May 2, 2014 - 16:04
swissinfo.ch and agencies

Following a trial at the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona, a 35-year-old Kurd from Iraq was sentenced on Friday to three years and three months behind bars.

His younger brother received a two-year suspended sentence.

The pre-trial custody period of around one year was taken into account in the sentencing.

During the court proceedings it was said that the main defendant played a key role in a newly-founded European network set up to support al-Qaeda.

Both men, who lived in Basel, were  active members of the network, though the 35-year-old was responsible for internet forums. Like his younger brother, he also looked after chat rooms, contributing writing and uploading violent videos, showing for example, attacks in Iraq.

In Friday’s verdict, the judge did not define this European network as a criminal organisation.

The federal public prosecutor, Maria Schnebli, stated in court on Tuesday that the brothers had lied from the outset in order to gain asylum in Switzerland, falsely claiming that their family was dead.

“The accused are a danger to public security in Switzerland and to the peaceful co-existence of religion, ” she said.

Speaking after sentencing on Friday, the chief public prosecutor, Michael Lauber, said he was pleased with the verdict, and that the most important charges had been confirmed. He added that recognition of the danger of inciting terrorism over the internet had been vital.

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