Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Switzerland to Skip Trial for Accused Khan Accomplices
Swiss officials are seeking to avert public legal proceedings for three Swiss nationals accused of participating in the onetime nuclear proliferation ring led by Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Associated Press reported on Sunday (see GSN, April 27).
The prosecution of brothers Marco and Urs Tinner and their father, Friedrich, is a politically delicate matter as the three men are believed to have been recruited by the CIA as informants on the Khan smuggling organization, which sold nuclear weapons technology and systems to Iran, Libya and North Korea. Swiss prosecutors have accused the Tinners of breaching Swiss nonproliferation rules.
The Bern-based Federal Prosecutors Office disclosed its intention to pursue an abbreviated legal path that allows for punishment to be handed down absent a trial, so long as Switzerland's top judicial criminal branch does not oppose the move and the defendants enter guilty pleas, the SonntagsZeitung newspaper reported.
Federal Prosecutors Office spokeswoman Walburga Bur earlier said that if the Tinners plead guilty under the deal sought by prosecutors, they would be sentenced to no more than half a decade behind bars, as opposed to the full decade to which violators of Swiss nonproliferation laws are subject.
The prosecution of the Tinners stirred serious public controversy in Switzerland when it was disclosed that Swiss authorities on multiple occasions directed that evidence be disposed of, purportedly after they came under significant lobbying by high-ranking members of the U.S. government.
The Tinners are currently out on bail (John Heilprin, Associated Press/Google News, Nov. 13).
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