Switzerland looks to tighten anti-terror laws

Switzerland looks to tighten anti-terror laws
Justice minister Simonetta Sommaruga presented the measures in a press conference on Thursday. File photo: Thierry Charlier/AFP
The Swiss federal government has launched a period of consultation on proposed new legislation that would toughen penalties for terrorists and those supporting terror organizations.
In a statement on Thursday, the government said: “The police and justice authorities must be able to act more resolutely against acts likely to increase the risk of a terrorist attack.”
It therefore wants to adapt current laws to combat the recruitment and training of terrorists and ‘jihadi tourism’.
The measures will replace the current temporary ban on terror organizations including Al-Qaida and Islamic State with new, more specific, legislation making it a criminal offence to recruit people for a terror group, receive terrorist training or travel abroad for the purposes of terrorism.
The new measures – which will apply both to terror groups and individuals – will allow Switzerland to ratify the Council of Europe’s 2005 Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism and its 2015 additional protocol, which specifies the same.
The Swiss government wants to raise the maximum jail sentence for people who support or participate in terrorism from five years to ten years – or 20 years for those who run terror groups.
It also wants to make it easier for investigators to share information with other countries’ intelligence services. 
The new measures, in consultation until October, will not contravene freedom of expression and religion, assured the government.
Further measures will be proposed later in the year, while the government also wants to establish an action plan for preventing terrorism by recommending ways to detect radicalization at an early stage.
According to intelligence figures up until this May 65 people have left Switzerland to join terror groups abroad, with an additional 23 unconfirmed cases, said news agencies.  
Among those 23 are thought to have died and an estimated 14 have returned. 

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