The discreet return to France of “returnees” from jihad and their children [OPINION]

51 people, sixteen wives of jihadists aged 22 to 39 and 35 minors (7 are orphans of both parents), were brought back from Syria on 5 July. They were held in camps guarded by Kurds, in living conditions deemed “appalling” by the United Nations – whose human rights committee condemned France for leaving its nationals there too long. This group return is a first: France had already repatriated children from Syria, but without their mothers. In the case of adults, the previous “exfiltrations” were carried out on a case-by-case basis or through the Cazeneuve Protocol, which allowed the extradition of jihadists from Turkey. The sum of these “returnees” from the Syrian-Iraqi zone is beginning to count: 320 adults, including 108 women, and 200 minors have been repatriated since 2012, out of a total of 1,450 French citizens who traveled to support Daesh in Syria or in Iraq (France has provided its defense agency with the largest contingent of jihadists from Europe). About 400 of them are considered dead and 300 are missing.

While the official French doctrine was to allow those accused of terrorism to be tried and punished in the countries where their abuses were allegedly committed, today the authorities invoke “pure humanitarian logic” in favor of these women and their children. This is the explanation given by Laurent Nuñez, then national coordinator for intelligence and counter-terrorism (he has been the new police chief in Paris since July 20). It should be noted in passing that when it comes to EU citizens who have joined the Islamic State, the myth of absolute male/female “parity” suddenly no longer prevails in France as elsewhere: “None of the countries in the Union have not decided to repatriate the men, neither Belgium, Germany nor Denmark,” emphasized Laurent Nuñez. But there is an additional explanation for this reversal by the French authorities: “The Kurdish forces that administer these camps did not have the means to organize trials or to ensure the detention of these very numerous people in good conditions,” said La. Croix (link below) Jean-Charles Brisard, president of the Center for the Analysis of Terrorism. About fifteen women known to be highly radicalized have also managed to escape from these camps.

The arrival on national soil of this group of women and children who have experienced – and sometimes encouraged or even committed – the horrors of Daesh’s “jihad” is hailed as “a first step” by the families of these “returnees” from the Syrian-Iraqi territory . But it should be noted that the two associations of victims of the attacks of 13 November 2015 approve the repatriation of children and their mothers from Syria. Children, because they are under the age of 12 for 90% of them, they are above all victims (which does not exclude their potential danger); mothers so that they are accountable for their actions in the courts.

Other operations of the same type will follow. In the current state of law and prisons, they pose a formidable security problem. Among the “returnees” imprisoned on their return is, for example, Emilie König, 37, from Brittany, who traveled to Syria in 2012, where three of her five children were born (repatriated to France in early 2021) . Placed by the United Nations on its blacklist of the most dangerous fighters, she acted as a recruiter for Daesh and called for attacks in the West in videos. Such “profiles” put all French people at risk, including the prison population. A few months ago, Yvan Colonna, sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of the prefect Erignac, was murdered by an Islamist fellow prisoner. But the biggest risk in prisons is Islamic contagion. And it would be naive to think that women are less dangerous than men. If 15 of the 16 “returnees” from the beginning of this month, including Émilie König, held the same conversion speech in front of the investigators (one, the ex-wife of one of Daesh’s executioners, stuck to her positions), the Public Prosecutor’s Office The National Counter-Terrorist has learned to distinguish between those who returned to France before the fall of Islamic State in 2019 and those who remained in Syria or Iraq after that date. While many of the former are no longer spoken of, others continue to practice a strict Islam in detention. For years, prison guards’ unions have demanded “sealed” detention and assessment departments. The first appeared only last fall. Here, too, the “delay in ignition” by the public authorities is obvious. Already overwhelmed, the National Anti-Terrorism Prosecution Service, the Prison Service and, in the case of minors, Children’s Services, have their work cut out for them…

Philip Oswald

Source: The Cross

This article was published by La Sélection du Jour.

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