A Swiss woman was sentenced to nine years in prison on Monday for stabbing two people in the name of the Islamic State group, but her sentence was suspended so she can undergo psychiatric treatment.
The court found the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, guilty of attempted murder and terrorism-related charges.
She had “no respect for human life,” said court president Fiorenza Bergomi as she read the verdict.
She had “acted in cold blood, planning her actions and deciding what weapon to use and where to buy it,” Bergomi continued.
The 29-year-old woman’s mental condition was at the heart of the trial at the Swiss Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona, in the southern Italian-speaking region of Ticino where the attack took place.
The attack, which resulted in no deaths, took place on November 24, 2020 at the plush Manor department store in Lugano, near Bellinzona.
The woman had suddenly snapped at two random women shopping in the store, trying to slit their throats.
According to the indictment of the Attorney General’s Office, the accused acted “deliberately and with particular ruthlessness,” shouting “Allahu akbar” (God is the greatest) and “I will avenge the Prophet Muhammad” several times, declaring: “I am here for IS’, the jihadist group of the Islamic State.
One of the two victims suffered a serious neck injury, while the second sustained injuries to one hand and, along with others, managed to keep the attacker under control until police arrived.
The attack, which resulted in no deaths, took place on November 24, 2020 at the plush Manor department store (pictured) in Lugano, near Bellinzona
During the trial, the court heard that the woman has been in contact with psychologists and psychiatrists since childhood, with two experts testifying that she suffers from various mental disorders.
Her lawyers argue that the attack due to the suspect’s mental disorders cannot be considered an “act of terrorism” because the woman lived in a fantasy world.
When questioned during the trial, the woman showed no remorse and told the court, “If I could go back, I would do better.”
On Monday, she was found guilty of “repeated assassination attempts” and violating Swiss laws against association with al-Qaeda, IS and allied Islamist groups.
She was also found guilty of repeated illegal prostitution between 2017 and 2020.
The accused was ordered to pay 41,000 Swiss francs ($42,000) to the woman who suffered the most serious injuries and who was a civil party in the case, to cover her legal costs and as compensation for the “moral injustice.”
The court president pointed to studies that indicate that terrorist suspects can suffer from stress and psychiatric problems.
“We must not forget that there are … people with psychiatric problems who do not belong to terrorist organizations, but who are considered lone wolves,” she said.
The 29-year-old woman’s mental state was at the heart of the trial at the Swiss Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona (pictured), in the southern Italian-speaking region of Ticino where the attack took place
Monday’s verdict was in line with the prosecutor’s request, but her sentence was shorter than the 14 years it had demanded.
Prosecutors, who had also suggested she suspend her sentence and put her in a closed treatment center for as long as she was deemed a threat, said Monday they “took note” of the verdict, but did not say whether they would. would do. appeal.
The daughter of a Swiss father and a Serbian mother, her adolescence was marked by anorexia, and she did not attend high school.
At the age of 19, she married a man of Afghan descent and converted to Islam. The couple divorced last year.
After falling in love with a jihadist in Syria through social media in 2017, she tried to meet him but was stopped by Turkish authorities at the Syrian border and sent back to Switzerland, where she was admitted to a psychiatric clinic, police said.