Why is the Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Returnees Important for Tajikistan?

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The rehabilitation and reintegration of children whose parents fought in the ranks of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, children who have already been returned and those citizens who are going to be returned, remains an urgent issue. This article is devoted to the coverage of this issue in the media space.

Background of the question

10 years ago, the situation in the Middle East countries in the area of ​​extremist-terrorist threat seriously deteriorated, which had an impact on Muslim communities around the world. The activation factor of the Islamic State led to the start of a large-scale recruitment of militants from all over the world. Citizens from different countries, together with their families, moved to the territory of Syria and Iraq, where they lived according to the laws of the medieval state. 

In relation to these individuals, the governments of the countries of the world took diametrically opposite measures: some deprived supporters of radical groups of citizenship, while others decided to return them or extradite them to their homeland. 

Tajikistan has taken practical steps towards the return of its citizens. Thus, on March 18, 2015, amendments and additions to the Criminal Code were adopted, allowing to exempt followers of extremist groups and movements from liability before the law, in case of voluntary admission of guilt and sincere repentance.

According to approx. 1 of Article 401 “persons who voluntarily renounce membership and participation in an illegal armed formation, military operations on the territory of other states until the liquidation of the activities of an armed formation or the completion of hostilities, if their actions do not contain other crimes, are exempted from criminal liability” .

In accordance with the legislation of Tajikistan, if persons who admit their guilt sincerely repent and voluntarily come to law enforcement agencies and assure that they ended up in extremist groups for unknown reasons, fraudulently, then they, in accordance with Articles 307, note. 2, 307 approx. 3, 401 approx. 1 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Tajikistan are exempted from criminal liability .

Back in November 2018, senior adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Tatarstan Kudratullo Gulomov wrote in his article that in the three quarters of 2018, the Ministry of Internal Affairs returned to the country 163 citizens who were members of such extremist and terrorist organizations as ISIS, Salafiya, Group 24, Jamoat Ansarullah.

Thus, the rehabilitation and reintegration of self-returnees and returnees is of particular relevance in the current conditions.

…Tajikistan has taken practical steps to return its citizens, especially children. Thus, on behalf of the head of state Emomali Rahmon, children whose parents fought in the IS were returned to the country.

In April 2019, 84 children from 1.5 to 15 years old, mostly girls, were returned from Iraq on a special flight (by the way, Tajikistan was the first Central Asian country to start repatriating its citizens).

After 3 years, in July 2022, the wives and children of IS militants were returned from Syria: 42 women and 104 children and teenagers aged 2 to 18 years.

According to the Tajik Foreign Ministry, today more than 400 citizens of the country remain in Syria and Iraq, and Dushanbe continues negotiations with Damascus and Baghdad on their return to their homeland.  

Source: asiaplustj