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Algerian to be deported for Swiss mosque attack

Winterthur district court has sentenced a 50-year-old Algerian man for attacking two worshippers in the An’Nur mosque. The man received a suspended prison sentence of 12 months and a seven-year ban from Switzerland.

The man, who was involved in an attack on allegedly disloyal worshippers in Winterthur’s An’Nur mosque in 2016, was convicted of forced confinement, complicity in threats and complicity in coercion.

Because the prison sentence was conditional, the court released the man from prison immediately. He will now be handed over to the migration office for deportation so that he can be returned to France. He had gone into hiding there because of the investigations against several An’Nur visitors.

According to his statements, he works as a gardener in Strasbourg and is married for the second time. His first wife and adult son are still in Winterthur. He lived in Switzerland from 1998 until he disappeared. In May of this year he was arrested in France and has since been held in preventive detention.

During the brief interrogation, he admitted to having taken part in the attack on two Muslims because they had allegedly spoken to a journalist about radical preaching in the mosque and about Islamist worshippers. “I made a mistake and I ask for your forgiveness,” he said in court on Thursday.

The attackers, including the accused, locked the two victims in a room of the mosque, assaulted them, forced the PIN code for their mobile phone and threatened one of them with death. They forced the other to eat a ten-franc note because he was supposed to have received money in exchange for information.

Nine other people already on trial

Nine other people have already been tried for this case. In October 2021, the top court in canton Zurich handed down suspended prison sentences of between 12 and 19 months and fines of between CHF160 ($180) and CHF2,000 on appeal against six defendants for coercion, false imprisonment and threats.

The imam and the president of the mosque were acquitted. They received compensation of CHF500 and CHF18,000 for the time spent in detention. Another defendant was acquitted and received compensation of CHF34,000. Proceedings are still pending before the Federal Court.

The mosque was closed after a police raid shortly after the attack.

In another trial, an imam who had preached at the An’Nur mosque was given an 18-month suspended prison sentence in 2018 for calling for violence. He was expelled from Switzerland.

Source: Swiss Info