Three arrested in Swiss raids on Islamist websites

Three arrested in Swiss raids on Islamist websites

05 March 2005 0304 hrs (SST)

GENEVA : Swiss police have arrested three people suspected of running Islamist sites on the Internet that carried images of hostages being killed, bomb-making instructions or ensured communications between extremist groups, authorities revealed Friday.

The arrests were made during searches carried out in Switzerland on February 22 after several months of investigations, the Federal Prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Police were obliged to use force during one of the raids in the western Swiss canton of Fribourg, it added.

Five people were detained during the raids but three extremists from Belgium and Tunisia are still under arrest on suspicion of "public incitement to crime or violence".

At least one of them was "actively" running several Arabic platforms with video of hostages being executed or people being mutilated, as well as detailed information on how to carry out kidnappings or attacks, according to the prosecutor.

"The forum of one of these Internet sites was often used by Islamist circles as a means of communication and propaganda," the statement added.

Swiss authorities said they had also formally requested that another site based abroad be shut down.

The probe followed the publication of letters claiming responsibility for a bomb attack in Pakistan last July on the chatroom of a Swiss-based website,

The same site later carried details on the kidnapping of French journalists Georges Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot in Iraq and was closed down by the Internet provider in September.

Police also seized computer equipment, software, video and sound recordings as well as a large quantity of documents written in Arabic. - AFP

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