Swiss suspects in Vienna terror attack released from custody

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Both Swiss nationals who were arrested after the November 2020 attack in Vienna have been released from pre-trial detention. 

This content was published on April 27, 2021 - 14:45

The older of the two - who was 24 when arrested - was released recently. The Attorney General’s Office told the Keystone-SDA news agency on Tuesday that it was no longer proportionate for him to remain in custody. The younger suspect – who was 18 at the time - was released from pre-trial detention in mid-April for the same reasons.  

Both suspects will have to comply with certain conditions failing which they could be re-incarcerated. 

The two Swiss men were arrested in early November 2020 in the northern Swiss city of Winterthur in connection with the Vienna terror attack. The two men were already facing criminal proceedings for terrorism charges in 2018 and 2019, which are still ongoing. The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland has taken over these proceedings from Winterthur and Zurich prosecutors.  

Vienna attack 

The Swiss Attorney General’s Office is investigating links between the two suspects and the Vienna gunman, who was shot dead by Austrian police during the attack last year. They visited the gunman in Vienna in July and were in social media contact around the time of the attack, according to media reports. 

Swiss federal prosecutors are also investigating the duo’s possible complicity in attempts to buy ammunition in Slovakia. 

Winterthur, situated northeast of Zurich, has a recent history of Islamic radicalisation. In recent years, an imam was deported from the city to Somalia for hate preaching and another person, dubbed the “Emir of Winterthur”, was sentenced to a 50-month jail term for recruiting jihadist fighters. A mosque in the city has also been closed down by the authorities. 

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