Jihadist attack: Swiss woman sentenced to prison and psychiatric treatment

The young woman, whose name must not be published at the request of the court, was sentenced by the federal criminal court for “repeated assassination attempts“, violation of the article of the federal law prohibiting the groups Al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS) as well as related organizations, and for the repeated illicit practice of prostitution.

On November 24, 2020, she had tried to cut the throat of a customer and a saleswoman from a department store in Lugano (South), the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, with a bread knife bought on the spot. The first victim was seriously injured in the neck. The second had been injured in the hand and had managed to control the assailant with other people.

It is indeed “jihadist-motivated assassination attempts“, affirmed the president of the court Fiorenza Bergomi, arguing in particular that during the attack, the young woman said several times “Allahu Akbar” (God is the greatest).

For the court, she acted with a complete lack of scruples, with a particularly heinous motive and purpose, and showed no form of repentance, either during the investigation or during the proceedings.

She has “acted in cold blood” and “planned the act“, assured Ms. Bergomi.

The court sentenced her to a custodial sentence of nine years and a fine of 2,000 Swiss francs and also ordered that institutional psychiatric treatment be carried out in a closed institution.

She was also ordered to pay the seriously injured victim 30,000 francs (31,000 euros) as compensation for moral damage and 11,000 francs as a contribution to his legal fees.

In a press release, the Public Ministry of the Confederation (Attorney General) indicated that it “will decide on the next steps” as soon as he has the written and reasoned judgment.

– “Satisfactory sentence“-

Taking into account that the experts concluded at the “limited liability” of the accused who suffers from psychiatric problems and at the risk of recidivism which she presents, the court ordered that the prison sentence be suspended for the duration of the treatment.

This duration can beparticularly long“, declared to AFP the lawyer of the young woman, Daniele Iuliucci.

The sentence is satisfactory“, he said, pointing out that the defense had requested an 8-year prison sentence while the federal prosecution had requested 14 years. However, he did not say whether the defense would appeal.

The young woman has been followed by psychologists since her childhood. His mental health was at the heart of this trial, which was held the week of August 29 at the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona. According to experts, she suffers from mild mental retardation and a form of schizophrenia.

The presiding judge pointed out on Monday that “there are – when we talk about terrorism – people who have psychiatric disorders who do not belong to terrorist organizations, but who are considered lone wolves“.

She was known to the authorities.

According to the Swiss police, she was “fallen in love” on the social networks of a jihadist fighter in Syria whom she had tried to join in 2017 before being arrested at the Turkish-Syrian border and sent back to Switzerland, then placed in a psychiatric institution.

From a Swiss father and a Serbian mother, the young woman converted to Islam after being married to an Afghan from whom she ended up divorcing last year.

Switzerland has never experienced a large-scale jihadist attack but two knife attacks in 2020, in Lugano and Morges (West).

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