All three are pensioners between the ages of 65-75. Their specific crime had been volunteering on IDF bases in Israel as part of the Sar-El program. According to Article 9 of the Swiss Civil Code, doing so constitutes high treason and carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison. Most other Western countries have similar laws forbidding their citizens from serving in foreign militaries.
This legal drama began after one of the volunteers in question was interviewed by a local Swiss newspaper and eagerly recounted his IDF volunteer service. The article sparked a political firestorm, and many demanded that the volunteers be severely punished. A number of people commenting on the article even compared those volunteering for the IDF to European citizens who had secreted away to the Middle East to fight for ISIS or Al Qaeda. The latter had been arrested and jailed upon returning to Europe, and many Swiss believe the same punishment should be imposed upon any who aid the Israeli military.
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