Switzerland: Islamist website owners found guilty

Switzerland's Federal Criminal Court has handed down a guilty verdict on a couple accused of supporting radical Islamic organisations via internet sites.

The Tunisian man was sentenced on Thursday to six months in prison plus an additional 18 months suspended for supporting criminal organisations and inciting violence. His Belgian wife was given a six-month suspended sentence for aiding and abetting him.

This was the first time a court in Switzerland sentenced someone for supporting an Islamic terrorist organisation.

The accused stood trial in Bellinzona for allegedly letting groups linked to al-Qaeda use internet forums they had set up to exchange information.

The prosecution accused the couple, who lived near Fribourg in western Switzerland, of running four websites in addition to online forums. They were arrested in February 2005.

The sites were allegedly set up to promote racially motivated crimes. They were also used to publicise claims of responsibility for attacks and threats against Western countries as well as broadcasting images of Islamist attacks and executions.

"The defendant has not just made use of the right to freedom of expression, but made pure propaganda," said judge Bernard Bertossa, who chaired the trial. The prosecution demanded two-and-a-half years imprisonment for the man and 12 months for the woman

Source: Swissinfo (English)

See also: Switzerland: Terror incitement trial

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