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EU ISIS PRISONERS IN IRAQ: EU adopts wait-and-see stance as European IS followers face execution

Dreams of living in an Islamic caliphate or dying as martyrs dashed, many former jihadi fighters from Europe now face the death penalty. Will the EU campaign to save citizens who reject its values?

"Kill lists" didn't eradicate them on the battlefield and local judicial systems won't resolve the dilemma created for the European Union by citizens who joined Islamic State and now are detained by the Iraqi government or Syrian militia groups. Most EU governments, some of which openly admit targeting their nationals with airstrikes, have no intention of bringing home almost anyone over the age of 10.

Having helped the Iraqi government push IS out of its territory, many EU leaders are relieved to hand over responsibility for holding and prosecuting the jihadis and their followers to the Iraqi judicial system. But Iraq says the death penalty is a likely sentence for those found to have been active fighters or even in key support roles. Vocal against capital punishment everywhere else in the world — even when former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein was sentenced to die — the EU has been virtually silent on its own citizens' fates.

Pieter van Ostaeyen, a Belgian expert on jihad movements, elaborated on the EU's dilemma regarding the detainees. "Are we outsourcing their executions to Iraq? That's a moral issue," he told DW. "But then of course we have to face the fact that these guys who have been captured and would return do have to fit in again in our society and what are we going to do with them?"

Read more: EU adopts wait-and-see stance as European IS followers face execution | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 26.03.2018

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