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Swiss administrator of Jihadi recruitment site fined

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland building Keystone / Alessandro Della Valle


A man from canton Vaud accused of acting as the admin for a website used to recruit people for the Jihadi cause has been ordered to pay fines in a ruling by the Swiss justice authorities.

This content was published on March 29, 2019 - 16:19
RTS/ilj

The site has been named as Ansar-Ghuraba by Swiss public television RTSExternal link, which first broke the story of the site’s existence in 2014.  Experts say that the site - which has been closed down for four years - was one of the most important recruiting platforms in the French-speaking region.

RTS said on FridayExternal link it had learned that the Office of the Attorney General of SwitzerlandExternal link (OAG) had handed down the ruling to the man for having “created, administered and maintained a propaganda and recruitment platform for criminal organisations”.

The man was ordered to pay a monetary penalty of CHF5,400 to the state, plus a fine of CHF8,000.

According to the OAG crimes ordinance of January 10, of which RTS was able to obtain a redacted version, propaganda videos and photos were circulating on the site between April 2013 and August 2014. It says that the site was used for recruiting but also for helping men and women go to regions controlled by Islamic State or Syrian al-Qaeda branch Jabhat al-Nusra.

The accused originally planned to appeal his conviction, but later decided against it, RTS reported.  He contests the facts as outlined by the OAG, the man’s lawyer told RTS via email. His client maintains that the aim of the website was to act as a forum “for exchanges about Islam”, he said. When problematic content started appearing, his client was “overtaken by events at this point”.

The lawyer said that the man in question had never considered himself a sympathizer or member of a terror or criminal organisation.

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