Some nations in Europe, Asia and North America are in the process of deciding how to handle citizens who go to fight for ISIS in the Middle East.
But they apparently already have decided what to do with people who left their country to fight against ISIS.
They will prosecute them.
Judith Bergman, a columnist, lawyer, political analyst and senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute wrote about the problem.
“Some European countries are actually in the process of prosecuting nationals who travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight against ISIS,” she explained. “In the U.K., it is estimated that just a few dozen British volunteers fought against ISIS. By comparison, approximately 850 U.K. nationals travelled from the U.K. to join ISIS.”
Jim Matthews was the first person prosecuted in the U.K. for fighting with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, which is not a proscribed terrorist group in Britain.
Bergman noted YPG’s forces were backed by the British military and international airstrikes to drive ISIS out of its Syrian territories.
Nevertheless, Matthews was charged with “attending a place used for terrorist training” for attending the training camp used for all YPG recruits.
Matthews told the Independent newspaper: “We [British YPG volunteers] went out there because our government was not doing enough. It was a job that needed doing, we had to get Isis out of that territory.’
Bergman said he was “also evidently ‘jolted’ to join the fight against Isis after seeing a photograph of a jihadi holding a woman’s severed head on Facebook.”
“It seemed like one of the most evil single images I’ve ever seen in my life,” Matthews said.
But when he returned to the U.K., he was accused of terrorism, only to have the charges dropped later.
“A second British national, Aidan James, who fought with the YPG against ISIS, was arrested and charged with terror offences in February 2018,” Bergman wrote. “James was charged with receiving training from the PKK, before going on to fight with Kurdish YPG units in Syria. James’s case, tried in April, was inconclusive: the jury failed to reach a verdict on whether he had committed terror offences by fighting against ISIS. Prosecutors said they would be seeking a retrial of his case.”
In Denmark, Tommy Morck was sentenced under a law that prohibits nationals from going to areas of conflict in Syria and given six months in prison.
Meanwhile, some 400 ISIS fighters who had returned to the U.K. were “at large and unpunished.”
In February 2018, the British government was asked why it was refusing to release figures on the number of returned jihadists being prosecuted.
In response, the government seemed to admit that “a significant portion” of the more than 400 Islamic State fighters who had returned to Britain at that time were at large and unpunished.
They had been deemed “no longer of national security concern.”
In fact, Bergman noted, only about 40 returning ISIS terrorists have been successfully prosecuted.
Some apparently were let off the hook for stating that they were doing “humanitarian aid work,” the report said.
Bergman reported they apparently “have come back and just gone on with peaceful lives.”
In October 2017, Britain’s then independent reviewer of terrorism Legislation, Max Hill, said in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program that returning jihadists should not be prosecuted.
“We’re told we do have a significant number already back in this country who have previously gone to Iraq and Syria,” he said. “That means that the authorities have looked at them, and looked at them hard, and have decided that they do not justify prosecution and really we should be looking towards reintegration and moving away from any notion that we’re going to lose a generation due to this travel.”