EL AL plane 1 248 88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
The Swiss Criminal Court has rejected charges against an Algerian man accused of plotting to shoot down an Israeli passenger flight.
The court's verdict, reached April 2 but only released Friday, said the existence of the plot could not be supported.
The 29-year-old man is the last suspect still in custody from a group of eight people of North African origin arrested last year for their alleged participation in the plot. The Swiss Federal Prosecutor's Office could not be reached to comment on the verdict, which would seem to indicate the end of its investigation.
Plot to down El Al jet in Geneva foiled
Swiss prosecutors have provided few details of their probe. They confirmed the arrests in June, a month after Israeli media reported that the cell planned a rocket attack on an El Al plane that would take off from Geneva airport in December 2005. The discovery of the plot prompted the airline to divert its flights to Zurich for a week, according to the reports.
Despite throwing out the terror plot charges, the criminal court ordered the Algerian man be kept in detention because of charges that he carried out thefts in Switzerland and sent the money he gained to a terrorist group in Algeria via France.
Paris prosecutors said last year that the arrests were part of a broader takedown of a European network that helped finance what was then called the Salafist Group for Call and Combat.
They said that French authorities arrested six people in the move against the Algerian group, which changed its name to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb when it announced its alliance with the international terrorist network in January.
None of the suspects arrested in Switzerland was identified because of the country's strict privacy laws. It is unclear whether the other seven are still being investigated for crimes despite having been released.