OCT 8, 2014 – SWISSINFO.CH
Defence Minister Ueli Maurer has performed a U-turn regarding the Islamic State
The Swiss government has decided to outlaw the militant Islamic State group and similar organisations. The ban includes activities, as well as propaganda and financial support of the jihadist fighters.
“Islamic State has committed serious human rights violations,” a defence ministry statement said.
Infringements of the new rule, to come into force on Thursday, carry prison sentences of up to three years or fines. Confiscations of funds are also possible, according to the ministry.
The regulation is limited to six months, according to the defence ministry. The cabinet reserves the right to extend the measure or to include it in a legal amendment.
Wednesday’s decision marks a U-turn by the government and Defence Minister Ueli Maurer.
Last month he told parliament a ban would be largely symbolic and have only limited impact as there were no indications of major activity by jihadist fighters in Switzerland so far.
Announcing a policy change in the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper two weeks ago, Maurer said: “It is a sign of international solidarity, to ensure that Switzerland is not misunderstood.”
There are about 20 cases of individuals in Switzerland working with militant jihadist organisations, according to the Federal Prosecutor’s Office.
An estimated 40 people have left the country to join jihadist movements in Syria. They face criminal prosecution upon their return to Switzerland under an existing ban on the al-Qaeda organisation and other militants.
Germany outlawed Islamic State in September.
Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch