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Court hands down lighter sentence over IS propaganda

Published on 26/06/2020

The Federal Criminal Court has reduced a sentence for a man who spread propaganda from the banned Islamic State (IS) group from a suspended prison sentence to a CHF2,500 ($2,635) fine.

The 35-year-old had originally been handed a 180-day suspended jail term and a CHF1,000 fine by federal prosecutors. He appealed this sentence at the court in Bellinzona, which ordered him to instead pay up a fine amounting to a 25-day rate of CHF100 for each day.

Judges ruled the man guilty because made comments on Facebook showing sympathy for the banned group between 2014 and 2015. Scenes of violent content were also found by investigators. IS is considered a terror organisation in Switzerland and the spreading of its propaganda via social media is considered an offence.

The man, who lives in canton Basel Country, will also be on probation for two years, the court said on Friday.

The man’s change of heart towards IS played a role in the milder sentence, a journalist from Swiss public television SRF who followed the court case has said.

“It really made an impression when you see defendant as he is now. He has distanced himself from his earlier way of thinking and from the Islamist ideology,” said Rafael von Matt in the report.

The original penalty had been imposed by the Office of the Attorney General in May of last year.