Switzerland Wants to Strip Citizenship From Jihadist Suspect

ZURICH (Reuters) —

Switzerland said on Tuesday it was seeking to revoke the citizenship of a 19-year-old Swiss-Italian man identified by a former employer as a suspected jihadist who traveled to Syria to join Islamic State.

The Swiss authorities believe at least 73 people have traveled to the Middle East to become jihadist fighters since 2001, according to an official report from April. Of those, 13 have been confirmed dead.

The Swiss State Secretariat for Migration issued a federal notice on Tuesday to notify Swiss-born Christian Ianniello that it had opened a revocation case against him, although it did not state why.

A spokeswoman said the secretariat was investigating in coordination with intelligence services and the relevant cantonal authorities, “whether in concrete cases of jihadist-motivated travelers the revocation of the Swiss citizenship was possible in instances of dual citizenship.”

An employee at a window blinds business in the town of Winterthur where Ianniello worked confirmed he was suspected of having traveled to Syria to join Islamic State in 2015. They believed he had been killed, the employee said on condition of anonymity.

After someone’s citizenship has been withdrawn, Switzerland can deny entry to the person “as a way of neutralizing the direct threat they pose to the country,” the spokeswoman said.

In late March, French President Francois Hollande abandoned plans to strip French nationality from its country’s dual citizens who were convicted of terrorism, a retreat from the tough stance he took in the days following the November attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.

The constitutional reform was popular with French voters, but failed to win necessary support of France’s parliament.

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