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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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CRIME

Swiss man kidnapped in Zurich ‘is vaccine commission chief’

A Swiss man briefly abducted last month by a German, before his kidnapper was shot dead by police near Zurich, is the head of Switzerland's federal vaccination commission, local media reported Saturday. 

Swiss man kidnapped in Zurich 'is vaccine commission chief'

The information gives a completely different twist on the case. 

The 38-year-old German had been wanted since March 31 by the authorities after abducting a man in the canton of Zurich. 

The police did not communicate about the case until the German was shot dead this week, and did not give the identity of the abductee. 

But according to several Swiss media outlets, including the Tagesanzeiger daily and the Heidi.news website, the victim of the abduction is the head of the Federal Commission for Vaccinations (CFV). 

The motive for the abduction remains unclear. 

According to the Swiss online news site Watson, the German abductor had been in close contact with conspiracy theorists. 

He was killed on Wednesday night when police tried to arrest him. 

Before being shot and killed he pulled out a gun and killed a 28-year-old woman, believed to be his girlfriend, according to police. 

According to the Swiss news agency ATS, a 34-year-old Swiss man was arrested on Thursday and is believed to be linked to the abduction. 

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