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TERRORISM

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against two Syrians arrested last December after traces of explosives were found in their car.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The pair were arrested on December 11th, the day they arrived in Switzerland, after police were alerted about their behaviour.

A case was opened against the men, who were suspected of “the manufacture, concealment and transport of explosives or toxic gases” and of violating Swiss law prohibiting “groups like Al-Qaeda, Islamic State (Isis) and similar organizations”.

They were kept in custody for 50 days and released at the end of January.

Quoting a September ruling from the Swiss prosecutor’s office, news agency ATS said on Wednesday that the case against the men had been dropped and that they would receive damages of 11,000 francs ($11,100) and 12,500 francs ($12,600) respectively.

Their legal costs would also be paid by the Swiss government, said ATS.

Their arrests came during a time of heightened security in Geneva as the terror alert level was raised following the attacks in Paris in November.

At the time Geneva public prosecutor Oliver Jornot told the media that the men’s vehicle  “was at one point used to transport explosives” but that it did not necessarily mean it was the two suspects who did so.

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TERRORISM

Switzerland arrests suspected Isis sympathisers in numerous raids

Four suspected members or sympathisers of the Islamic State group have been detained in Germany and Switzerland in a cross-border operation, prosecutors from the two countries said Tuesday.

Switzerland arrests suspected Isis sympathisers in numerous raids

In Switzerland, three people were picked up in the cantons of Zurich, Sankt Gallen and Lucerne, national authorities said, adding that seven further searches were also carried out.

The suspects, whose identities were not released, are accused of “participation in or support for the outlawed organisation Islamic State”.

In Germany, a man was detained in the western town of Roemerberg, federal prosecutors said.

Identified only as Aleem N., he is “strongly suspected of preparing a serious violent attack threatening the security of the state and of belonging to a foreign terrorist organisation”.

He is believed to have attempted to travel from Germany via Turkey to Syria in September 2020.

“In Syria, the suspect wanted to join the foreign terrorist organisation Islamic State, attain military training and then take part in combat or terrorist attacks,” the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

However, Aleem N. was unable to reach Syria for reasons that were not immediately clear and returned to Germany.

“At the latest in April 2021 he joined Isis in Germany and carried out vast propaganda activities for the group,” prosecutors said.

His duties included “mainly translating official texts, videos and audio messages by Isis from Arabic into German and distributing them on various Telegram channels in German-speaking areas”.

“Isis considered such activities to be equivalent to taking part directly in violent jihad,” it added.

The suspect is also believed to have taken part in a telephone conversation with Isis leaders in late 2021 to “verify his reliability” before travelling to “IS zones of operation”.

However, “a further attempt” to reach Syria in January 2022 “failed again”.

Aleem N. was to appear on Tuesday before a federal judge who will decide whether to remand him in custody.

German intelligence services estimate that more than 1,150 people have travelled from Germany to Iraq and Syria since 2011 for Islamist reasons.

More than a third have since returned to Germany, while at least 270 have been killed in Iraq or Syria.

“A low three-digit-number” are currently detained in the two countries, according to the intelligence services’ 2021 report.

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