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PARIS TERROR ATTACK

TERRORISM

Swiss dailies condemn Paris terror attack

The terror attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine employees in Paris that left 12 people dead dominated the front pages of Swiss newspapers on Thursday.

Swiss dailies condemn Paris terror attack

And editorialists for the papers joined those from journals around the world in condemning the assault with machine guns that killed well-known French cartoonists, artists and journalists from the satirical weekly.

This went beyond a mere massacre of individuals “to assassinate freedom of expression and annihilate the values of democracy”, an editorial in Le Temps said of the attack on Charlie Hebdo, known for its irreverent lampooning of Muslim and other religious extremism.

“The terrorists wanted not only to perpetrate an inhumane act but also to create chaos,” the editorial said.

“What can a pencil do against rocket launchers?”

The editorial went on to say that while democracy is in mourning it should not shy away from the challenges.

“It’s up to all us to show the terrorists who wanted to kill Charlie Hebdo that we are all Charlie.”

Other Swiss newspapers carried editorials with a similar theme.

The German-language Basler Zeitung simply printed the Twitter hashtag #JeSuisCharlie in the centre of its otherwise blank front page.

Le Matin ran a cartoon showed a fist clenching a pencil defiantly rising from a blood-soaked Charlie Hebdo magazine.

Although the circulation of the magazine is small, the publication is widely known in French-speaking Switzerland.

CHECK HERE FOR A SAMPLE OF SWISS NEWSPAPER FRONT PAGES

Many newspapers from western Switzerland ran their own cartoons to comment on the attack.

Chapatte, cartoonist for Le Temps, sketched one for the front page of the paper that shows a gravestone cross inscribed with with the words “Morts de rire” (they died laughing).

The Paris attack was also widely covered — and condemned editorially — by German-language newspapers in Switzerland.

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung urged a “constitutionally correct” response to the assassinations through the rule of law and not through bloodthirsty revenge.

Many commentators expressed concern that tensions between the West and the Islamic world would be further exacerbated by the terror attack.

See also: PARIS ON EDGE AFTER SECOND ATTACK

“The extermination of a newspaper office in the middle of Europe is a new sad and climax to the brutal policies of extremist Koran followers,” a commentary in the Basler Zeitung said.

“It is a frontal attack on the freedom of expression, the heart of Western culture.”

The Blick tabloid took a similar position, headlining an “attack on freedom”.

The killings were an attack on the values of the West — “liberalism and individualism, democracy and press freedom,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

CRIME

Case dropped against second Swiss man over Vienna attack ‘links’

Swiss prosecutors said Thursday they had dropped the case against a second Swiss man over alleged links to a deadly shooting rampage in Vienna due to a lack of evidence.

Armed police officers stand guard before the arrival of Austrian Chancellor Kurz and President of the European Council to pay respects to the victims of the recent terrorist attack in Vienna, Austria on November 9,2020. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
Armed police officers stand guard before the arrival of Austrian Chancellor Kurz and President of the European Council to pay respects to the victims of the recent terrorist attack in Vienna, Austria on November 9,2020. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG), which last month decided to drop the case against one suspect, told AFP it had issued a discontinuation order in the case against a second man.

On November 2, 2020, convicted Islamic State sympathiser Kujtim Fejzulai killed four people in Vienna before being shot dead by police.

It was the first major attack in Austria in decades and the first blamed on a jihadist.

Two Swiss citizens who knew Fejzulai were arrested in the northeastern Swiss town of Winterthur just a day after the attack on suspicion they may have helped in its preparation.

‘How was it possible?’ Austrians left asking painful questions after Vienna terror shootings

The two, who were aged 18 and 24 at the time, were known to the police and were the targets of prior criminal cases over terror-linked offences.

The OAG acknowledged Thursday that no evidence had emerged that either man had participated in any way or had prior knowledge of the attack.

The older of the two men was meanwhile hit with a penalty in a separate case with no links to the Vienna file, the OAG said.

The penalty order, seen by Swiss media, indicated that he had been found guilty of violating Switzerland’s law banning Al-Qaeda, Islamic State and related organisations and of being in possession of “depictions of violence”.

According to the ATS news agency, an IS group video was found on his phone depicting people being executed and decapitated.

He was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence, a fine of 1,000 Swiss francs ($1,100, 950 euros), and three years’ probation, ATS said.

ANALYSIS: Vienna terror attack was ‘only a matter of time’

In light of this penalty, he would not be compensated for the 176 days he spent behind bars after his arrest following the Vienna attack, it added.

The OAG said a separate case was still pending against the younger of the two men, also on suspicion he breached the Swiss law banning Al-Qaeda, IS and related organisations, and over “allegations of depictions of violence”. “The presumption of innocence applies,” it stressed.

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