Switzerland mulls ban on Hamas and affiliated groups

The Swiss government has proposed a five-year ban for the Islamist Palestinian organisation Hamas and affiliated groups after their terrorist attacks on Israel.

The Swiss Federal Council hopes that banning the organisation will have a “preventive and repressive effect”, as it wrote in a press release. The aim is to reduce the risk of Hamas and related organisations using Switzerland as a safe haven. It should also reduce the threat of terrorism in Switzerland.

In addition, the law enforcement authorities could more easily issue entry bans or expulsions. And the ban would allow the authorities to take more targeted action against Hamas supporters. For financial intermediaries, the ban would lead to greater legal certainty in the fight against terrorist financing.

Fighters from the Islamist Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, attacked Israel on 7 October, killing almost 1,200 people and kidnapping 250. Two Swiss citizens were among the victims.

In response to the attack, the Federal Council classified Hamas as a terrorist organisation. This means that acts of support for Hamas are punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment and individuals who have “significant influence” in the organisation by up to 20 years.

Because the ban would have far-reaching consequences for the organisations, groups and individuals concerned, the law is limited to five years, the Federal Council wrote. However, Parliament could extend this period. The consultation period lasts until 28 May.


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