Update on the homicide in Morges
Bern, 16.09.2020 - The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) announced on 14 September 2020 that it had overtaken the investigations from the Vaud Cantonal Police into the homicide committed on 12 September 2020 in Morges. The OAG has been conducting criminal proceedings against the 26-year-old suspect, a Swiss-Turkish dual national, since October 2019 on suspicion of arson at a petrol station in Prilly (VD).
Chronology since 2017
The suspect is known to the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) since 2017, in part because of the consumption and dissemination of jihadist propaganda.
In April 2019 the Public Prosecutor’s Office in the Canton of Vaud opened criminal proceedings against the Swiss-Turkish dual national on suspicion of arson (Art. 221 Swiss Criminal Code (SCC)) at a petrol station in Prilly (VD). The investigations of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in the Canton of Vaud revealed indications of a possible jihadist background of the suspect, which corresponded with information obtained by the FIS. As the matter then fell within the OAG’s jurisdiction, the OAG overtook the criminal proceedings in October 2019 and extended the investigation to include offences under Article 2 of the Federal Act on the Proscription of Al-Qaeda, Islamic State and Associated Organisations, support for or participation in a criminal organisation (Art. 260ter SCC) and disseminating representations of violence (Art. 135 SCC).
The suspect was placed in pre-trial detention since the suspected arson at a petrol station in April 2019. The term of detention was extended by the compulsory measures court several times, initially at the request of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in the Canton of Vaud and subsequently at the OAG’s request after it had overtaken the criminal proceedings. In July 2020, at the request of the OAG, which based particularly on a psychiatric report, the compulsory measures court released the suspect from detention. This release was subject to various alternative measures (Art. 237 Criminal Procedure Code) proposed by the authorities involved. The alternative measures ordered by the court included making the suspect subject to a dusk-to-dawn curfew, requiring him to report regularly to the authorities and banning him from carrying any weapons. Before the incident on 12 September 2020, no breach of the measures imposed had been reported to the OAG that would have justified the suspect being returned to detention.
Homicide on 12 September 2020
In view of the incident on 12 September 2020 in Morges, the OAG has extended the criminal proceedings that were opened in April 2019 to include the offences of intentional homicide (Art. 111 SCC) and murder (Art. 112 SCC). The suspect has been arrested on 13 September 2020. The OAG has requested the competent compulsory measures court to place him in pre-trial detention.
As communicated before, a terrorist motive for the incident in Morges cannot be excluded. The OAG is now working with the authorities in the Canton of Vaud, fedpol und the FIS to clarify the circumstances.
The OAG is unable to comment any further at present. It will issue a further statement on the proceedings in due course.
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Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland