Combating terrorism: Indictment filed against IS member
Bern, 14.04.2020 - The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has filed an indictment against an Iraqi citizen in the Federal Criminal Court. He is accused of being a member of and carrying out various activities for the Islamic State terrorist organisation (IS) while operating from Switzerland. The suspect held a position of authority in relation to other IS members, some also in high-ranking positions.
The OAG alleges that the suspect violated the Federal Act on the Proscription of the Groups «Al-Qaeda», «Islamic State» and Associated Organisations (SR 122). He is also accused of participation in IS as a criminal organisation (Art. 260ter no 1 Swiss Criminal Code (SCC)), commercial fraud (Art. 146 para. 1 and 2 SCC) and multiple counts of producing and storing representations of acts of violence (Art. 135 para. 1 SCC). The OAG opened criminal proceedings in the case in November 2016. The suspect was arrested in May 2017 and has since been in pre-trial detention. On filing the indictment, the OAG requested the competent compulsory measures court to order the suspect to be held in preventive detention.
Membership of the proscribed terrorist organisation IS
The OAG alleges that the suspect, from around 2014, but at the latest from mid-2016 and until his arrest in May 2017, was a member of terrorist organisation IS, operating from Switzerland. Investigations in this connection uncovered an extensive transnational network involving the suspect and over 20 other IS members in Switzerland, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, Finland and in another location as yet unidentified. The suspect held a position of authority in relation to other IS members, some also high-ranking, and functioned as a recruiter, trafficker, cash-provider and as the recipient of instructions from leading IS members.
The suspect is alleged to have carried out numerous activities for IS. He is accused of attempting in April 2017 to incite an IS member living in Lebanon to carry out a suicide attack in Lebanon on behalf of IS. The attack was prevented in time. The suspect is also alleged to have agreed to carry out orders from a high-ranking IS member to prepare for attacks in Switzerland. In addition, according to the indictment, he provided IS with financial support, recruited several persons for the IS and assisted them in travelling to join IS and instructed an IS member living in Syria to set up IS sleeper cells.
The investigations did not reveal any indication that an actual attack was imminent in Switzerland. The persons named in the indictment as having been recruited for or sent to IS by the suspect did not include anyone resident in Switzerland or any Swiss citizens.
According to the indictment, in the period from February 2017 until his arrest in May 2017, the suspect provided false information with regard to his financial circumstances to the social services department in his commune in the canton of Thurgau on more than a dozen occasions when requested and thus obtained social assistance benefits to which he was not entitled.
Multiple counts of producing and storing representations of acts of violence
The OAG also alleges that in the period from 2016 until his arrest in May 2017, the suspect downloaded numerous representations of acts of violence from the internet to his data carriers and stored them there for his own consumption and in order to pass them on to others. Most cases involved propaganda material showing various forms of brutal executions.
The complex investigations in this case were carried out under the OAG’s leadership by a joint investigation team involving fedpol and the Zurich Cantonal Police. In addition, the OAG worked through international mutual assistance channels with several other countries. The OAG would like to thank fedpol, the Zurich Cantonal Police and its other national and international partners for their excellent cooperation in this case, which has now made it possible to bring the matter to court.
As is customary, the OAG will make its proposals for the disposal of the case at the main hearing before the Federal Criminal Court. With the filing of the indictment, the Federal Criminal Court becomes responsible for procedural matters and media communications. This also applies with regard to the suspect’s detention. The presumption of innocence applies until a legally binding conviction has been secured.
Address for enquiries
Communication Service of the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland, T +41 58 464 32 40, email@example.com
Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland