Swiss IDF Support Volunteer Acquitted of Treason Charges

YERUSHALAYIM -

A Swiss citizen who has worked in a volunteer capacity supporting the IDF, was found innocent of charges of treason by a military court in Switzerland, The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday.

Swiss law prohibits its citizens from serving in foreign armies, and offenders can be charged with treason.

The accused, André Mottet, did volunteer work for Sar-El, a nonprofit organization which provides logistical support on army bases. The volunteers are not drafted into the IDF and are not considered IDF service personnel.

The 70-year-old Mottet, who is not Jewish, volunteered with Sar-El during three trips to Israel.

The Military Tribunal of Sion, a Swiss military court, ordered the arrest of three people, including Mottet, who was then faced with allegations of treason, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

It emerged during the trial that he had never joined the IDF, and he was acquitted last January.

“I was very relieved with the ruling, not only for me but also for the other Sar-El volunteers,” Mottet told the Post. “I was very surprised that I was charged, because Sar-El is a civil volunteer program and has nothing to do with military service, but I was always certain I would win the case.”

Asked what motivated him to join Sar-El, Mottet said it was his way to give support to the Jewish people, “and show solidarity with them after they have been oppressed by Europeans.”

“It gives me happiness to have helped, and a way for me to help fix a little bit what the Europeans did to the Jews,” he said.

There are approximately 4,000 foreign volunteers for Sar-El every year, and more than 200,000 people from 56 countries have signed up since it was established in 1983. Around 20 percent are not Jewish.