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Returning Pinoy IS fighters to face charges

/ 05:14 AM March 28, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Islamic State (IS) fighters in Iraq and Syria who claim to be Filipinos will be held liable for any “criminal activity” they had committed abroad and their identities established before they are allowed to return to the Philippines, an antiterrorism official said on Wednesday.

Terrorists usually have multiple passports from different countries to hide their true identities and any claim to Filipino citizenship by anyone of them has to be verified, presidential adviser on terrorism Benjamin Defensor told reporters during the Protect 2019 conference on security threats.

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Defensor said people who trained for combat or became IS fighters in the Middle East also came from other Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, and some had links to the regional jihadist group Jemaah Islamiyah, which had ties to al-Qaida and had pledged allegiance to IS.

As to the Philippine government’s willingness to take back those found to be Filipinos, he said: “If they are Filipinos, you’d want to know what they have done or what is (their) offense and if they created something out of their own volition to join, say a criminal activity … They have to answer for their actions.”

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TAGS: Benjamin Defensor, Filipino IS fighters, Islamic State
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