Swiss woman charged with being 'jihadi tourist'
An alleged ‘jihadi tourist’ who tried to travel to Syria to join Islamic State is charged with supporting terror groups and will be tried in Switzerland’s federal criminal court, the public prosecutor has said.
In a statement, the Swiss attorney general’s office said it had filed an indictment against the 30-year-old Zurich woman, a Swiss national, for offences under the federal law that bans terror groups including Isis.
In December 2015, the woman, with her four-year-old child, attempted to travel to Syria via Greece and Turkey in order to join Isis, the authorities allege.
The woman was prevented from continuing her journey by the Greek authorities and then arrested at Zurich airport on her return to Switzerland in January 2016.
Federal spokesman André Marty told broadcaster RTS that the woman radicalized herself, through internet propaganda.
While awaiting her trial at the federal criminal court in Bellinzona, the woman is not in custody but is subject to certain restrictive measures, he said.
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.
His conviction was in February 2017 upheld by Switzerland's highest court in Lausanne, setting a precedent for the prosecution of other 'jihadi tourists'.
Switzerland’s anti-terror law, established in 2014 initially as a temporary measure, prohibits any activity by Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and other terror groups within Switzerland and abroad, plus any activities that support or promote the groups.
The Swiss government is currently considering tightening its terror laws in order to combat the recruitment and training of terrorists and prevent ‘jihadi tourism’.
The measures will replace the current temporary ban on terror organizations 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 public prosecutor is currently pursuing some 60 people for criminal offences linked to terrorism.