Young Swiss jihadists given suspended sentences
A district court in Switzerland has handed down suspended jail sentences for two teenagers who joined an Islamic militant group in Syria.
The two defendants – a brother and a sister, aged 16 and 15 - were found guilty of sharing and approving the views of the Islamic State group when they left for Syria in 2014, according to the judges.
The court rejected potentially attenuating circumstances as the youths were fully aware of what they were doing. They were also trying to encourage others to join them, the judges said. But they were not involved in combats.
Experts say the verdict - ten and 11 months in prison respectively, suspended over a year – is considered harsh but short of the maximum four-year sentence that a juvenile court can announce.
The judgement which was announced on Wednesday is subject to appeal.
The court hearings in Winterthur took place last December, partly behind closed doors. Both defendants refused to answer most questions, according to the presiding judge.
The teenagers were arrested when they arrived back in Switzerland in December 2015 after their mother convinced them to return.
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