Swiss open criminal proceedings against Islamic Council board member


The Swiss attorney general has opened criminal proceedings against a director of the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland on suspicion of violating a ban on groups including Al-Qaeda, the attorney general’s office said Saturday.


The council board member, a German citizen who was not named publicly, is accused of “having presented his journey to embattled regions of Syria in a video for propaganda purposes, without having explicitly distanced himself from Al-Qaeda activities in Syria,” according to the office of Attorney General Michael Lauber.


The proceedings, opened on Dec. 9, come as Switzerland is in a heightened state of alert following attacks in Paris in November that killed 130 people. The Swiss government on Friday announced it had added 86 employees to what it called its “terror fighting” activities within the federal police, intelligence service and border patrol agencies.


“In particular, the party is accused of having interviewed a senior member of the jihad umbrella organization Jaysh al-Fath, of which the Syrian Al-Qaeda branch Jabhat al-Nusra (the Nusra Front) is also a member,” Lauber’s office said of the charges against the Islamic Central Council director.


The attorney general’s office, which is working with the Swiss federal police on the case, indicated that the individual had not been arrested.


A spokesman for the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland, Abdel Azziz Qaa Similli, could not be reached for comment on Saturday. An employee at the council, located in the Swiss capital of Berne, told Reuters it would provide a statement later on Saturday.


Daily Star