• Switzerland's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Jail for three Iraqis guilty of supporting IS in Switzerland
The federal criminal court in Bellinzona. Photo: Tonatiuh Ambrosetti/OFCL

Jail for three Iraqis guilty of supporting IS in Switzerland

The Local · 18 Mar 2016, 12:15

Published: 18 Mar 2016 12:15 GMT+01:00

The three men were part of a quartet of Iraqi nationals on trial in Bellinzona, in the canton of Ticino, since the end of February, charged with trying to plant an IS cell in Switzerland and planning terrorist attacks.

On Friday three of the four were found guilty and given prison sentences of up to four years eight months, reported news agency ATS.

The prosecution had requested a jail term of seven and a half years for two of them, including for the supposed ringleader, a wheelchair-bound 29-year-old who had “abused Swiss welfare”, it was reported earlier in the trial.

The fourth was found innocent and will receive damages of 1,092 francs.

The case rested on the interpretations of the quartet’s communications on the social network Facebook and messaging service Skype, said ATS.

For the prosecution, the words they used – including one deemed a code for a bomb – indicated that they were trying to bring people and materials to Switzerland to prepare an attack.

The defence denied that interpretation.

Asked why he used coded language in the online communications, the principal suspect said he felt he was under permanent surveillance by the US, ATS reported.

However the defendants' lawyers did concede that their clients had violated Swiss residency laws, said ATS.

A paraplegic, the ringleader arrived in Switzerland in 2012 and obtained asylum.

He is thought to have joined a terrorist organization in Iraq as early as 2004, the media said at the start of the trial.

Story continues below…

Hospitalized in Schaffhausen in the north east of the country before being moved to a centre for paraplegics in the canton of Aargau, he is said to have maintained close links with this organization and to have planned terrorist attacks.

Despite operations and rehabilitation, the Iraqi was active on social media platforms and posted videos supporting sharia law and terrorism, according to the prosecution.

The investigation and arrests were triggered by intelligence from the United States that an Islamic State cell planned an attack on Swiss soil.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Why Switzerland is getting worse for expats
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Switzerland plunges 17 places in a global survey of expat life.

Swiss company's Zika test to be used in US
File photo: AFP

US regulators issue emergency authorization to use Roche's not-yet-approved diagnostic test for detecting the Zika virus.

Rising tensions spark rise in violence at asylum centres
Bags at a refugee centre in Switzerland. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Frustrations are spilling over in refugee centres in Switzerland causing an increasing number of confrontations between residents, according to reports.

Survey: majority of Swiss in favour of burqa ban
Photo: Antoine Taveneaux

More than 70 percent of Swiss want to see a ban on the burqa across Switzerland

Foreigners in Switzerland surpass 2 million mark
International flags outside the UN in Geneva. Photo: Martial Trezzini/AFP

For the first time, there are now more than two million foreigners living in Switzerland.

Geneva runs out of permits for non-EU workers
File photo: The Local

Canton complains to the federal government after it reduced the number of permits available to third state workers.

Scorchio! Late August heat breaks record in Geneva
Lake Geneva on Thursday. Photo: The Local

The mercury in Geneva hit 33.3 degrees, a record for the final week in August.

US and Russia meet in Geneva for Syria talks
John Kerry with UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Geneva on Thursday for a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

Expert predicts major quake for Switzerland by 2040
A fireman stands in the Italian village of Amatrice, which was badly hit by this week's earthquake. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The canton of Valais is particularly at risk.

Aggressive deer put down after attacking four in Geneva
File photo: Michal Kosacky

The buck attacked four people in the same area over the course of 48 hours.

Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: Starship
Technology
Swiss Post trials robot parcel deliveries in Bern
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: AFP
Politics
Survey: Swiss optimistic about Brexit effect
Photo: Neil Heritage/Endeavour Fund
Features
Amputee's Matterhorn trek 'makes it more possible' for others
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Photo: EPFL
International
Switzerland tops global innovation table – again
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Photo: Vasily Cotovanu
National
Asylum centre plans shelved after Swiss village protests
Photo: The Local
Politics
Neuchâtel looks to boost rights for foreigners
Photo: AFP
Sport
In pictures: final day success takes Swiss to seven medals
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: AFP
National
Experts debate rail security following Swiss train attack
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
File photo: AFP
Sport
Two basejumpers die in Lauterbrunnen accidents
Photo: AFP
International
Amnesty fears for child migrants at Italian border
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Photo: AXA Winterthur
National
Report: Geneva is Swiss capital of car theft
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Photo: Dani Pozo/AFP
National
Top tips for watching the meteor shower in Switzerland
File photo: Andrew Turner
Technology
Swiss start-up to offer drone service to farmers
Photo: Beat Strasser
National
British quadruple amputee summits Matterhorn
Photo: Judit Klein
National
Switzerland sees rise in child victims of forced marriage
Photo: Michael Schlick/OS Muhr
National
Swiss hiker in Austria rescued after sending SOS to America
Photo: Chris Murphy
Features
14 mistakes foreigners make on moving to Switzerland
Photo: AFP
Lifestyle
Swiss resort unveils huge ‘natural’ fresco on mountain
Photo: C Sonderegger/Swiss Tourism
National
Five great Swiss traditions all expats should try
Photo: AFP
National
Confirmed cases of Zika virus soar in Switzerland
Photo: eGuide Travel
National
Prison for woman who faked Swiss airport bomb threat
Photo: AFP
Technology
Swiss solar plane completes epic round-the-world trip
4,362
jobs available