Number of terrorism expulsions drops

An airplane seen above a fence of the detention centre at Zurich airport Keystone / Martin Ruetschi

Five people were deported for being a threat to national security in Switzerland last year, down from 13 in 2017, the Federal Office of Police (Fedpol) says. But terrorism remains a serious risk, the authorities say.

This content was published on April 25, 2019 - 11:17

There was also a drop in the number of people banned from entering Switzerland due to terrorism links, according to Fedpol’s annual reportExternal link published on Thursday. In 2018 the figure was 78, down from 140 in 2017.

The fall in both cases was due to Switzerland’s strict policyExternal link in these areas over the past few years, Fedpol spokesperson Cathy Maret told Swiss public television, RTS.

“But we shouldn’t see this as a drop in terrorism risk, because the jihadi risk must be taken seriously, as the Federal Intelligence Service has stated,” she said.

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Jihadist profile

The 2018 report also looked at the profile of a typical Swiss “jihadi traveller” in terrorist-related cases handled by Fedpol.

It concerned jihadists who had wanted to travel or who did travel to a conflict region in Syria or Iraq. Not all cases involved fighters – some accompanied fighters or offered support to terror groups with logistics or propaganda. Some never left Switzerland, others left and came back. In some cases, people have been killed, are still fighting or have been imprisoned in the conflict area.

Fedpol said almost half had Swiss nationality, the majority were male, and the average age was 32. Many were radicalised in Switzerland and a quarter were converts.

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland is pursuing criminal proceedings in some 70 cases linked to jihadi terrorism, including against returning jihadi travellers, it was revealed earlier this month.

The government has also rejected calls to actively repatriate Islamic militants with Swiss nationality from Syria or Iraq.

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