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Terror: Mektic (Bosnia), let's deradicalise foreign fighters

Agreement with Italy on repatriation of migrants

30 October, 19:20
(ANSA) - TRIESTE - Widespread monitoring and a new deradicalisation project along with a network of information involving European countries: these measures have been recently taken by local authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to deal with the presence of jihadists across the country. These plans were described by Interior Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina Dragan Mektic, interviewed on the sidelines of the Western Balkans summit in Trieste.

How can your country resolve the issue of the presence or return of so many jihadists? ''This is a real problem. Fifty foreign fighters have returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina from different countries.

This problem can be solved by using Bosnian law, since these people are prosecuted under our criminal law and then brought before our courts''.

Have trials already begun? ''Some of these foreign fighters are already in jail, trials are ongoing or about to start''.

Are these people being monitored by Bosnia's authorities? ''They are all under control by law enforcement and intelligence. There is a special and confidential attention for them''.

One of the problems in this area has so far been the poor exchange of information between the various countries...

''There is some news in this regard: through Europol we could exchange information between European countries on names and data. So if one of the fighters reaches any European country the police are informed. A new deradicalisation project is also being implemented''.

What exactly is it about? ''It's a new project aimed at deradicalising foreign fighters: we work with their families, we go into their homes to see what can be done, and we do the same thing in prison, in order to bring them back to civil society. It's something really new''.

Bosnia recently signed an agreement in Trieste on the repatriation of illegal immigrants from the so-called Balkan route. Is this a message to migrants? ''Yes. It is also a strong message to migrants, urging them not to enter illegally the European Union because after a while, however, they are going to be repatriated''.

A mandatory step to be taken, in order to enter the European Union? ''When Bosnia was dealing with the EU on accession, one of the requirements was to sign this protocol with regard to the readmission of migrants without permission. Each EU country must sign the protocol individually, Italy has already signed it.

This is a very important agreement for the relations between Italy and and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the field of illegal migration. This protocol means that Bosnia is committed to receive all illegal migrants coming to European countries such as Italy''.

In other words, you will be forced to 'get back' the migrant...

''Correct: the result is that if Italy sends them back to Bosnia and Herzegovina, we have an obligation to receive them''.

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