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ISIS Returnees to be Placed Under Close Monitoring in Germany

ISIS Returnees to be Placed Under Close Monitoring in Germany

Thursday, 14 November, 2019 - 06:30
German special police forces in Hildesheim, Germany, March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Nine German nationals suspected of supporting ISIS who are being deported from Turkey this week will not face immediate arrest when they return, German security sources have said.

The sources said Wednesday there was insufficient evidence for warrants to be issued against the nine, prompting criticism from opposition politicians who said the deportations have caught the government unprepared.

The deportees, who are due to arrive on Thursday or Friday, include a family of seven from Hildesheim -- a town in central Germany that has in the past been a focus of police raids against extremists.

The father is a German of Iraqi origin referred to by the sources only by his first name, Kanan, and is known to be a radical, the sources said.

The other two are the wives of ISIS militants, they said.

The sources said Kanan was intending to travel from Turkey to Syria earlier this year with his family.

They have been in prison in Turkey since March.

The two women are being investigated in Germany for membership or support of a terrorist organization.

They fled from a Syrian camp for ISIS supporters and were arrested by Turkish soldiers, the sources told Agence France Presse.

One of them, a 26-year-old called Heida, said she had gone to Syria in 2014 with an ISIS militant from Germany.

She said her husband was killed in fighting.

Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht told the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung that even though the returnees "cannot be detained yet, they can be placed under close monitoring or forced to wear electronic tagging".

Following the collapse of ISIS this year, many countries have been reluctant to repatriate thousands of foreigners who had travelled to Iraq and Syria to join the extremist organization.

Armin Schuster, a lawmaker specializing in national security issues, said around 100 German nationals were still believed to be in the region and a third of them could be considered dangerous if they returned.

Schuster said Turkey was preparing to deport around a dozen more German nationals it has in custody.

Six German states have appointed officials to coordinate the return of German nationals from Syria and ensure they undergo de-radicalization programs.

But Stephan Thomae, from Germany's opposition Free Democratic Party, in an interview with Deutschlandfunk radio, accused the government of not doing enough.

He said the government was "putting its head in the sand" over the issue of returnees from Syria.

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