Dual national stripped of Swiss citizenship for first time

In addition to Swiss citizenship, the man was also deprived of cantonal and municipal citizenship. Keystone

The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) has withdrawn Swiss citizenship from a dual national for the first time. The man had been sentenced to several years in prison for carrying out propaganda and recruiting fighters for an Islamist terrorist organisation. 

This content was published on September 13, 2019

The SEM pointed out in a statementExternal link on Wednesday that, according to Article 42 of the Federal Act on Swiss CitizenshipExternal link, “the SEM may, with consent of the authority in the canton of origin, revoke the Swiss, cantonal and communal citizenship of a person holding dual nationality if his or her conduct is seriously detrimental to the interests or the reputation of Switzerland”.

According to Article 30 of the Ordinance on Swiss CitizenshipExternal link, this is the case if the person has committed a serious crime in connection with terrorist activities or violent extremism.

These conditions have been fulfilled in the present case, the SEM said. In addition to Swiss citizenship, the man was also deprived of cantonal and municipal citizenship. The SEM did not divulge the second nationality of the man despite's request for information citing data protection obligations. 

The decision of the SEM is not yet final. The man can lodge an appeal with the Federal Administrative Court. 

At the beginning of June, the government said it had identified more than a dozen dual nationals suspected of having participated in crimes committed abroad as part of terrorist activities. 

Several cases 

Switzerland revoked dozens of passports for security reasons during the Second World War and the years thereafter, but this is the first time it has done so based on the citizenship law effective since 1953. 

The Swiss government has had several cases in which it proposed revoking citizenship from those with multiple nationalities, including a 19-year-old Swiss-Italian man it identified in 2016 as having been a suspected IS jihadist. 

In that case, Swiss authorities suspended proceedings after concluding the man had probably died after travelling from the city of Winterthur to Syria to join the group in 2015.

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