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Swiss man convicted for wanting to ‘die as martyr'

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Swiss man convicted for wanting to ‘die as martyr'
The criminal court in Bellinzona. Photo: Federal Criminal Court
15:47 CEST+02:00
A Swiss court made history on Friday when it convicted a man for attempting to travel to Syria to join Isis, the first time anyone has been prosecuted in Switzerland for such an act.

The 26-year-old was given an 18 month suspended sentence by the federal criminal court in Bellinzona after he was found guilty of violating a Swiss law which bans terror groups Al Qaida and Islamic State (Isis).

The man, a Swiss-Lebanese, was arrested at Zurich's Kloten airport in April 2015 before getting on a flight to Istanbul, Turkey.

In its judgement on Friday afternoon, the court said the man was intending to travel to Istanbul “with a view to joining Isis and dying as a martyr”.

During the trial the prosecutor alleged that, after making contact with a middleman on the Turkish-Syrian border, the accused “psychologically supported” the terror group, reported news agencies.

The defendant denied the accusations, saying he had wanted to travel to Syria to offer humanitarian help, and had no intention of killing.

But the prosecutor said an investigation of his internet search history showed “intense research on Isis” over a period of several months and nothing to prove he had an interest in humanitarian work.

The case sets a precedent, as it's the first time someone has been prosecuted under the temporary law, established in 2014, that prohibits any activities by Islamic State within Switzerland and abroad, plus any activities that support or promote Isis.

The 18 months suspended sentence is slightly less than the two years sought by the prosecutor.

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