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MIDDLE EAST

Syria faces Swiss sanctions

Switzerland announced new sanctions against Syria on Wednesday, following the European Union's decision to increase pressure on the Assad regime. 

Syria faces Swiss sanctions
Roosewelt Pinheiro/ABr

Like the EU, the Swiss government said it would impose an embargo on arms and on equipment used for internal repression.

“The new edict on measures against Syria includes an embargo on military assets and equipment that could be used for internal repression,” said the Swiss Economy Ministry in a statement.

“It also includes financial sanctions and travel restrictions on 13 people from the Damascus regime,” it added.

The ministry said that through the new sanctions, “Switzerland is joining sanctions announced on May 9, 2011 by the European Union against Syria.”

“These restrictive measures were decreed due to the violent repression that the Syrian army and security forces have exerted over about two months to suppress the peaceful demonstrations of the population.”

More than 850 people, including women and children, have been killed in the unrest and at least 8,000 arrested, according to rights groups.

SYRIA

Swiss woman stands trial for attempting to join Islamic State

A 31-year-old woman from Winterthur who tried to travel to Syria to join Islamic State (IS) is standing trial under Swiss anti-terror laws.

Swiss woman stands trial for attempting to join Islamic State
The federal criminal court in Bellinzona. Photo: Swiss Confederation/OFCL

The alleged ‘jihadi tourist' appeared before Switzerland's federal criminal court in Bellinzona on Friday, the Swiss news agency SDA reported. 

In December 2015, the woman, accompanied by her four-year-old child, attempted to travel to Syria via Greece and Turkey in order to join IS, the authorities allege. 

Her intended destination was Raqqa, which was at the time an IS stronghold in Syria.

The woman was prevented from continuing her journey by the Greek authorities and was arrested at Zurich airport on her return to Switzerland in January 2016. 

The Swiss attorney general's office filed an indictment against the Swiss national for offences under the federal law that bans terror groups including Isis. 

According to the indictment, the woman radicalized herself through internet propaganda after converting to Islam in 2009.

It says the Swiss national believed it was the duty of all Muslims to support IS.

She said she rejected western values.

This is only the second case concerning a so-called ‘jihadi tourist' to go before Switzerland's federal criminal court. 

The first prosecution of its kind took place in 2016, when a 26-year-old man was found guilty of attempting to travel to join Isis and given an 18-month suspended jail sentence.

Islamic State has been banned in Switzerland since 2014.