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Malaysians who joined IS in Syria can return if they meet set conditions

/ 04:19 PM March 13, 2019

The Star/Asia News Network Photo

PETALING JAYA — Malaysians who left the country to join the Islamic State in Syria will be allowed to return provided they comply with enforcement checks and complete a rehabilitation program, Al-Jazeera reported.

The Qatar news broadcaster said the government would conduct “thorough checks and investigation on each detainee while clerics and psychologists will evaluate their ideology and psychological make-up”.

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It also reported that those detained would be required to complete a one-month government run rehabilitation program, adding that all of them would be interrogated but not detained.

“We will compare intelligence which we received from friendly foreign services. If there is evidence that a returnee was involved in ISIL’s militant activities, he or she would be charged in court,” Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division head Deputy Comm Datuk Ayob Khan told the broadcaster.

It was previously reported in The Star that a 31-year-old Terengganu-born woman, her five-year-old daughter and two-year-old son were the first Malaysians to be repatriated from Syria.

DCP Ayob said 51 Malaysians, including 17 children, remained in Syria.

He told The Star that counter measures would be taken to ensure that returnees from Syria would not launch attacks in Malaysia.

He said a thorough evaluation of the returnees would be conducted, including scrutinizing their level of involvement in Islamic State, as well as whether they were still part of the terror network in Malaysia.

DCP Ayob explained that the rehabilitation of detained militants and religious extremists was organized by the police with assistance from various government agencies, with the process customarily beginning with a detention order.

He said the program would be conducted by experts in various fields, including Islamic religious scholars, academics as well as police officers.

He had added that from 2001 to 2012, a rehab program for 289 militant detainees had a 97% success rate, while from 2012 onwards, only two suffered a “relapse” out of 50 former militants under the program.

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TAGS: Asia, IS, Malaysia, Syria, Terrorism
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