Swiss indict Turkish-Swiss man over alleged jihadist murder

June 16, 2022 GMT

GENEVA (AP) — Swiss federal prosecutors said Thursday they have issued an indictment for murder and other charges against a 28-year-old Swiss-Turkish man in connection with the “jihadist-motivated homicide” of a Portuguese man in western Switzerland two years ago.

If the motive is confirmed, it would be a rare occurrence in Switzerland amid a wave of violent attacks by Islamic extremists in Europe and beyond since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

The attorney general’s office says the man, who was not identified, carried out the Sept. 12, 2020, attack in the town of Morges, near Lausanne, “with the aim of exacting revenge for the victims of the war between the coalition states and the ‘Islamic State’.” That referred to a conflict linked to the armed extremist group’s takeover of swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria in the mid-2010s.

The suspect, a resident of the French-speaking Vaud region of western Switzerland, was taken into custody the day after the attack and has been held in pre-trial detention ever since.

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In November that year, the suspect attacked and attempted to kill a guard, and attacked an officer of the federal police, the prosecutor’s office said.

The indictment said the suspect was accused of several offenses prior to the stabbing death of the 29-year-old Portuguese man, including an attempt to carry out an arson attack on a gas station in the name of the Islamic State group in the town of Prilly, north of Lausanne, in 2019.

He allegedly traveled to Italy that year in an effort to reach combat zones in Syria, but turned back and returned to Switzerland.

The matter has now been handed over the Swiss federal criminal court in the southern city of Bellinzona.