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 postponed so she could get mental health therapy. The lady, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was found guilty by the court of attempted murder and counts related to terrorism.
As she handed out the conviction, court president Fiorenza Bergomi said that the defendant ‘had no respect for human life’. According to Bergomi, she ‘acted in cold blood, had planned her acts, and had selected what weapon to use and where to get it’. The trial in Bellinzona’s Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona, Switzerland, in the southern Italian-speaking Ticino area where the attack took place, was centred on the lady, 29,’s mental condition.
The lavish Manor department store in Lugano, close to Bellinzona, was the scene of the attack on November 24, 2020, which did not result in any casualties. In an effort to slice the throats of two unidentified ladies shoppers at the store, the lady suddenly sprang at them. The accused allegedly screamed numerous times, ‘Allahu akbar’ (God is greatest), I will revenge the Prophet Mohammed, and I am here for IS,’ the Islamic State jihadist organisation, according to the Office of the Attorney General’s indictment.
One of the two victims had a major neck injury, while the other had hand injuries but was able to hold the attacker at bay until the police came. The woman has been seeing psychologists and psychiatrists since she was a youngster, the court heard throughout the trial, and two specialists testified that she has a variety of psychiatric illnesses. Her attorneys contend that because the alleged perpetrator lived in a dream world due to her psychological issues, the incident cannot be characterised as a ‘terrorist crime’.
The lady expressed no regret when questioned by the court throughout the trial, saying, ‘If I could go back, I would do it better’. She was found guilty on Monday of ‘multiple murder attempts’ and of breaking Swiss rules prohibiting affiliation with Al-Qaeda, IS, and other like-minded Islamist organisations. Between 2017 and 2020, she was also found guilty of repeatedly engaging in illegal prostitution. To compensate her legal fees and to make up for the ‘moral wrong,’ the accused was forced to pay the lady who had the most severe injuries and who was a civil party in the case 41,000 Swiss francs ($42,000).
A ‘lone wolf’
The court president cited research that suggested terror suspects would experience stress and psychological issues.’ We must not ignore the fact that there are lone wolves with mental health issues who do not belong to terrorist organisations’, she added. Her sentence was less than the 14-year period requested by the prosecution, but Monday’s decision was in keeping with that request.
The prosecution stated Monday that they ‘took notice’ of the conviction but made no mention of whether they would appeal. They had also recommended that her sentence be deferred and that she be put to a locked treatment centre for as long as she was considered a threat. Her youth was marred by anorexia, and she chose not to pursue secondary education. She is the daughter of a Swiss father and a Serbian mother.
She converted to Islam at the age of 19 and wed an Afghan guy. The two separated last year. She attempted to travel to see a terrorist she had fallen in love with on social internet in 2017, but was halted by Turkish officials at the Syrian border and deported back to Switzerland.