Combating terrorism: Coordinated arrests and searches in Switzerland and in Germany

 

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG), the Juvenile Prosecutor’s Office in Winterthur and the Office of the Federal Prosecutor at the Federal Court of Justice in Germany yesterday evening arrested several suspects and searched houses in a joint operation conducted simultaneously in the cantons of Zurich, St. Gallen and Lucerne in Switzerland and in Germany. The participant authorities are conducting criminal proceedings against four suspects on suspicion of participating in or supporting the banned terrorist organisation “Islamic state”. In Switzerland three persons were arrested and seven searches were carried out during the coordinated operation; in Germany there was one arrest and one search.

The OAG is conducting criminal proceedings in this connection against two adult suspects on suspicion of a violation of Article 2 of the Federal Act on the Proscription of the Groups “Al-Qaeda“ and “Islamic state” and Associated Organisations (SR 122) and on suspicion of participating in or supporting a terrorist organisation (Art. 260ter Swiss Criminal Code). The related investigation was opened in December 2021. The suspects are both Swiss men, aged 20 and 26 respectively and resident in the canton of Zurich. They were already known to the Swiss prosecution authorities and have been previously convicted of offences related to supporting IS. Both were arrested; the OAG is expected to apply to the competent compulsory measures court for them to be remanded in pre-trial detention.

The third arrest in Switzerland was made as part of criminal proceedings conducted by the Juvenile Prosecutor’s Office in Winterthur, as the suspect is a minor. The Chief Juvenile Prosecutor’s Office of the canton of Zurich is responsible for providing further information about this case.

The three persons arrested in Switzerland all were in contact with each other and with the person arrested in Germany by the German authorities. As a result, the house searches and arrests were all carried out at the same time. Questions in relation to the person arrested in Germany and the related criminal proceedings should be addressed to the German Office of the Federal Prosecutor.

The current cross-border operation was only possible thanks to the close and continuous cooperation between all the authorities involved. The following authorities took part in the operation:

Switzerland:

–     Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland

–     Juvenile Prosecutor’s Office in Winterthur

–     Federal Office of Police fedpol

–     Zurich Cantonal Police

–     St Gallen Cantonal Police

–     Lucerne Cantonal Police

–     Municipal police Winterthur

Germany:

–     Office of the Federal Prosecutor at the Federal Court of Justice

–     Federal Criminal Police Office

At both national and international level, the authorities involved work closely together in joint investigation teams.

The ongoing investigations aim to clarify the allegations against the suspects as well as their roles and intentions.

The OAG wishes to thank all its partners in Switzerland and in Germany for their valuable cooperation in this matter.

No further information can be provided at present. The OAG will issue a further statement in due course and wishes to stress that the presumption of innocence applies to all suspects.

Press release from the German Office of the Federal Prosecutor in this connection:

https://www.generalbundesanwalt.de/DE/Presse/Aktuelle_Pressemitteilungen/Aktuelle_Pressemitteilungen_node.html

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