Charges filed against alleged ISIS cell in Switzerland

(Last modification 16.10.2015)

Bern, 16.10.2015 - The Office of the Attorney General has filed charges against four Iraqi nationals aged 29 to 34 with the Federal Criminal Court for participating in or supporting a criminal organisation within the meaning of Article 260ter Swiss Criminal Code. They are being accused of preparing a terrorist attack amongst other things.

The accused individuals are being accused of participating in a criminal organisation or supporting it (Article 260ter Swiss Criminal Code) amongst other things. The Office of the Attorney General is accusing them of preparing a terrorist attack. The allegedly made preparations for a terrorist attack are included in the offence of a criminal organisation.  

The accused individuals are also being accused of multiple counts of depicting violence (Article 135 (1) Swiss Criminal Code), unlawful period of stay (Article 115 (1) (b) Foreign Nationals Act) and multiple counts of promoting unlawful entry and exit as well as unlawful period of stay (Article 116 Foreign Nationals Act). 

The criminal organisation is the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), i.e. its predecessor organisations in Iraq (IS) and Syria (ISI in Syria).

One of the accused individuals already joined a predecessor organisation of ISI in 2004. He made contacts in Syria in 2011 with the Syrian branch of today's IS, whose members were his then companions in Iraq, one of whom was a further accused in this case.  

After entering Switzerland at the beginning of 2012, he maintained contact with this group and forged plans for attacks with another accused and a third party who was to travel to Switzerland from abroad. IS was to claim responsibility of these plans if successful. The three accused individuals also aided and abetted smuggling further IS followers to Europe, assumed coordination tasks, disseminated propaganda for the actions of the terrorist organisation, gave instructions and also provided operative advice amongst other things.  

In spring 2014 (21 March and 8 April) these three accused individuals were arrested in north-eastern Switzerland and have remained in custody until the time of filing the charges. Corresponding applications for release were dismissed by the Federal Criminal Court. On filing the charges, pre-trial detention was requested.  

On 17 July 2015, the criminal proceeding was expanded to a fourth accused who had travelled to Syria to hand over radio equipment to ISI. Furthermore, he is being accused of deleting on Facebook contacts, posts and friend relationships in connection with a high-ranking member of the criminal organisation which are relevant for the charges.    

The criminal investigation of the Office of the Attorney General, which has been ongoing since March 2014 was triggered by information from the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS), which had forwarded it to the Federal Criminal Police (FCP). 

Given the international dimension, various countries are affected by this case. The Office of the Attorney General is accordingly in contact with the law-enforcement authorities of various states. The cooperation with the US Department of Justice is particularly close. A treaty between Switzerland and the US of 2006 specifies that the judiciary authorities of both countries shall cooperate in the area of combating terrorism. The purpose of this Operative Working Arrangement (OWA) is to establish joint investigation teams in the area of combating terrorism and has been applied for the very first time in this proceedings. 

The applications regarding the penalties will be filed on the occasion of the main court hearing.   

Address for enquiries

André Marty, Communications Head,, +41 58 464 32 40


Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland