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Kurdish brothers charged with 'terror' ties

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18:09 CEST+02:00
Two Kurdish brothers from Iraq, living as refugees in Switzerland, have been charged with taking part in a "terrorist" organization linked to Al-Qaeda, the Swiss attorney general's office said on Monday.

The two brothers, whose names and ages were not given, stood accused of using internet forums and chat-rooms to distribute images and texts about "attacks carried out by Islamist terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaeda and Ansar al Islam," the office of Switzerland's top prosecutor said in a statement.

They were charged among other things with participating in and supporting "a criminal organization, (and) public incitement to crime or violence," according to the statement.

The elder brother was suspected of creating a new Al-Qaeda support organization in cooperation with Mullah Krekar, the founder of the radical Iraqi Kurdish Islamist group Ansar al Islam who is currently serving consecutive prison sentences in Norway for threatening a former government minister and others.

The new group, according to Monday's statement, had used a number of internet platforms to distribute images of terror attacks and messages from Al-Qaeda "for propaganda purposes."

According to the attorney general's office, the new organization counts members in a number of European countries, and aims to pursue the goals of the Al-Qaeda network and "thus enable, through violent criminal actions, the introduction on a global scale of a Muslim Khalifate based on Sharia law."

The elder brother had held a number of key responsibilities in the new organization, according to Monday's statement.

He was among other things accused of having set up an internet forum and numerous chat-room pages, and of having transmitted messages between Mullah Krekar, whose real name is Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad, and armed groups in Iraq that are closely linked to Al-Qaeda.

His younger brother, meanwhile, stood accused of taking active part in the internet forums and chat-rooms and posting numerous pictures and texts promoting the group's message.

According to the prosecution, he had chosen of his own free will to "contribute to the pursuit and the realization of the Al-Qaeda network's goals."

The two brothers have refugee status in Switzerland. The Swiss migration authority has tried to strip them of that status after they were reportedly arrested on unknown charges in Basel in 2008, but that case is still working its way through the court system.

Their trial is to take place in Switzerland's Federal Criminal Court.

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