Tunisia: Govt Rehabilitation Program for Returning Terrorists

Tunisia- The Tunisian government announced a new program to rehabilitate fighters returning from terror zones.

A group of Tunisian ministries, including the ministries of justice, interior, foreign affairs and defense, are preparing an integrated rehabilitation program before the end of the current year to be included in next year’s budget, which will be discussed by the Tunisian parliament before the end of 2017.

The Tunisian authorities seek to develop the appropriate legal ground to accommodate the return of terrorist fighters from hotbeds of tension in Syria, Libya and Iraq and reintegrate them into the Tunisian society.

In the draft budget for the coming year (2018), large initial financial allocations have been approved, according to the Tunisian Committee on Combating Terrorism and Extremism (a government committee).

The government program excluded terrorists found guilty of murder, slaughter and other acts that are classified as crimes against humanity.

Tunisian security experts told Asharq Al-Awsat that leaders of ISIS will not return to Tunisia, and that those who will return will mainly include middle cadres and fighters.

In this context, Expert on Islamic groups Aliya al-Alani stressed that the number of fighters who will return to Tunisia will not exceed 2,000 fighters as most of the fighters were killed in Libya, Syria and Iraq.

“The actual number of combatants is not known by any government agency or human rights group because many terrorists have infiltrated illegally into conflict zones and used twisted roads to reach Syria and Iraq, including passing through Libya, Turkey and a number of Eastern European countries,” Alani told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The preparation of this government program in Tunisia responds to the United Nations Security Council resolution on “foreign fighters”, which is also the embodiment of the Tunisian strategy to combat extremism and terrorism.

According to the latest official statistics provided by the Tunisian Interior Ministry, the number of Tunisian terrorists abroad is estimated to be 2,929 terrorists, and the number of terrorists that have returned to Tunisia from hotbeds of tension between 2012 and 2016 is estimated to be at 800.