The discreet return to France of "returnees" of jihad and their children [OPINION]


Fifty-one people, sixteen wives of jihadists aged 22 to 39 and thirty-five minors (7 are orphans of both parents), were brought back from Syria on July 5. They were detained in camps guarded by Kurds, in living conditions deemed “appalling” by the UN – whose Human Rights Committee condemned France for having left its nationals there for too long. This group return is a first: France had already repatriated children from Syria but without their mothers. In the case of adults, previous "exfiltrations" were done on a case-by-case basis or through the Cazeneuve protocol allowing the extradition of jihadists from Turkey. The total of these "returnees" from the Syrian-Iraqi zone is beginning to number: 320 adults, including 108 women, and 200 minors have been repatriated since 2012, out of a total of 1450 French nationals who left to support Daesh in Syria or in Iraq (France has provided its defending body with the largest contingent of jihadists from Europe). About 400 of them are considered deceased and 300 are missing.

While the official French doctrine was to let those accused of terrorism be tried and punished in the countries where their abuses were allegedly committed, the authorities today invoke "a purely humanitarian logic" in favor of these women and their children. This is the explanation put forward by Laurent Nuñez, then National Coordinator of Intelligence and the Fight against Terrorism (he has been the new Paris police chief since July 20). It should be noted in passing that, in the case of EU nationals 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 of the The Union has not decided to repatriate the men, neither Belgium, nor Germany or Denmark,” underlined Laurent Nuñez. But there is an additional explanation for this reversal of the French authorities: "The Kurdish forces, which administer these camps, did not have the means to organize trials, nor 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 reputed to be very radicalized have also managed to escape from these camps.

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

Other operations of the same type will follow. In the current state of justice and prisons, they pose a formidable security problem. Among the “returnees” imprisoned upon their return is, for example, Emilie König, 37, from Brittany, who left for Syria in 2012 where three of her five children were born (repatriated to France in early 2021). Placed by the UN 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 assassination of the prefect Erignac, was assassinated by an Islamist fellow prisoner. But the main risk within prisons is that of Islamic contagion. And it would be naïve to believe that women are less dangerous than men. If 15 of the 16 “returnees” from the beginning of this month, including Émilie König, made the same speech of repentance in front of the investigators (one, the former wife of one of the executioners of Daesh, stuck to her positions), the Public Prosecutor's Office National Anti-Terrorist has learned to tell the difference between those who returned to France before the fall of the Islamic State in 2019, and those who remained in Syria or Iraq after that date. While many of the former are no longer talked about, others continue to practice a rigorous Islam in detention. For years, prison guards' unions have been clamoring for “sealed” incarceration and assessment wards. The first appeared only last fall. Here again, the "delay in ignition" of the public authorities is flagrant. Already overwhelmed, the National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor's Office, the prison administration and, with regard to minors, the Childhood Social Assistance, have their work cut out for them...

Philip Oswald

source: La Croix

This article is published from Selection of the day.

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Summary of news from March 24, 2023

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