Swiss Islamist Radical Facing Trial for Running Islamic State News Agency

Man typing on a laptop computer. Science Photo Library / ABO
Science Photo Library/ABO/AFP

A Swiss man from the city of St. Gallen is facing trial after allegedly distributing propaganda for the Islamic State terrorist group between February 2018 and October 2019.

The 27-year-old man, identified only by his initials A.Z., is set to face trial in the Federal Criminal Court of Bellinzona beginning on October 7th after being indicted by the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) for spreading terrorist propaganda.

According to a report from the Swiss tabloid Blick, the suspect is fluent in German, English, and Arabic and claimed to work as a translator on the career networking platform LinkedIn.

In particular, the Swiss suspect is believed to have had a hand in translating Islamic State press releases into English and spreading them over encrypted messaging apps such as Telegram as well as on social media platforms like Twitter.

Prosecutors say that the purpose of the press releases was to “glorify” the various military victories of the terrorist group.

Along with translating press releases, the suspect has also been accused of spreading other forms of propaganda, including videos and photos of executions and the bodies of victims of the terror group, including those of children.

In June 2019, he is also said to have sent messages to his fiancée asserting that he wanted to have ten children with her and that they both should become “soldiers of Islam”. In October of 2020, he admitted to wanting to travel to the Middle East to join the Islamic State in person.

According to the newspaper 20Minutes, the 27-year-old has allegedly been working as a freelance translator and is now married with a child on the way. A person close to him claimed he currently leads a “normal life”.

Several people in European countries have been convicted for spreading Islamic State propaganda over the last several years, including a 32-year-old woman in the Netherlands who was sentenced to six years in prison in June.

Like the 27-year-old Swiss suspect, the woman used the encrypted messaging app Telegram to distributed large amounts of ISIS material.

In 2019, a Syrian with refugee status in Germany was sentenced to just one and a half years for spreading the terror group’s propaganda despite the fact investigators found 50,000 photos and video files of terrorist attacks, beheadings, and torture.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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