SHARE
COPY LINK

TERRORISM

Switzerland expels French-Tunisian man over terror fears

Swiss police said on Saturday they had expelled a person facing criminal charges in Switzerland for suspected links to a terrorist group, over fears he poses a threat to national security.

Switzerland expels French-Tunisian man over terror fears
File photo of an armed police officer on patrol. Photo: Richard Juilliart/AFP

Federal police confirmed to AFP their “decision to expel a person who is facing (Swiss) criminal charges for participation in, or lending support to, a terrorist organisation”.

According to Swiss media, the man is a French-Tunisian national in his 40s who was working as a taxi driver when he was arrested in Geneva last June.

He had reportedly attempted to travel to Syria with his family and also helped recruit others to join the jihadists there.

He was released from Swiss detention last Wednesday and has since been sent back to France, where he is also facing criminal charges, the Tribune de Geneva daily reported.

It is unusual for Switzerland to expel someone still facing criminal charges in the country.

Federal police spokeswoman Lulzana Musliu told AFP in an email that the expulsion was justified in this case due to the threat posed “to Switzerland's domestic and external security.”

She said police had consulted with the Swiss intelligence service before determining that the expulsion was justified.

According to the Tribune de Geneve, the dual national, identified only as Bilal, maintains his innocence.
 

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.

SHOW COMMENTS