Swiss high court upholds conviction of two Muslims for terror Web sites

LAUSANNE, Switzerland: The Swiss supreme court upheld the conviction on Wednesday of two Muslims found guilty of supporting a criminal organization by running Web sites that posted statements from al-Qaida-linked groups and showed executions.

The main defendant, Moez Garsallaoui, 40, a Tunisian, was sentenced to six months in prison and given an additional 18 months suspended.

Malika El Aroud, 49, Garsallaoui’s wife and the widow of an al-Qaida suicide bomber, received a six-month prison sentence suspended for three years, which would keep her from going to jail unless she commits another punishable offense during the time.

In its decision handed down Wednesday the Federal Tribunal said it had no doubt that the two had made their Internet forums available to various terrorist groups operating in the al-Qaida network and thus supported criminal organizations.

The two were convicted by a lower court in June 2007 of running Web sites that supported terrorists and gave details of how to make bombs and carry out attacks.

During criminal court hearings last year, the prosecution showed a video of a beheading it said it had found on one of Garsallaoui’s Web sites. Garsallaoui denied knowledge of the video.

He acknowledged there may have been some violence shown on the Web sites — including attacks by U.S. soldiers on Iraqi civilians — but he maintained that he was entitled to show them under the rights of the freedom of the press.

Garsallaoui was found to have run Web sites with discussion forums that were used by terrorist groups to share information.

The sites also were used to publicize claims of responsibility for attacks and threats against Western countries. Swiss media reported three years ago that the beheading of American engineer Paul M. Johnson Jr. in Saudi Arabia was one of a number of executions aired on the sites.

All the Web sites were shut down by Swiss authorities in 2005.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday May 22, 2008.
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