Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 09:49
Jihad suspects not city's responsibility: Hague mayor
Municipalities are overtaxed in the supervision of returned Syria-goers and retained jihadists. The Mayor of the Hague is demanding help from the state. The accommodation and guidance of Syria-goers is currently the responsibility of the municipality where a returned fighter settles. In a letter to the Hague City Council, Mayor Jozias van Aartsen outlines the problems with this. Municipalities do not only lack the knowledge to estimate the risk formed by a returned jihadist, but also the expertise to minimize that risk. There are also "no instruments to tackle people who refuse help", van Aartsen writes on behalf of all the mayors of jihad municipalities. Van Aartsen wants jihadists screened by a special behavioral expert immediately after they return, even if it is against their will. Such enforcement should also apply to any treatment. "Only after it is established that a person is not a threat, he goes to live in a municipality and is there accommodated and guided." According to the involved municipalities, it will more effective to organize the reception of return jihadists centrally. Minister Ivo Opstelten (Justice) has announced that he is examining Van Aartsen's idea. He is considering bringing dangerous returnees into an Institution for Repeat Offenders, a prison where criminals receive mandatory treatment. The latest figures from the National Coordinator for Counter-terrorism and Security (NCTV) show that 30 jihadists has returned to the Netherlands. A total of 160 have traveled to Syria.