About 150 Swedish jihadists who had travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight for the ISIS cause have returned home, and more are currently trying to come back as their self-proclaimed "caliphate" in the Middle East nears total defeat.
About a third of ISIS returnees have turned to crime after arriving in Sweden, according to a survey conducted by the national broadcaster SVT.
The broadcaster has surveyed 41 of the returnees and found that 13 of them have been convicted of crimes or a currently under investigation.
Drug offenses, theft, handling stolen goods, fraud, abuse, extortion, money laundering and tax evasion are among the crimes listed.
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Arguably the most high-profile crime involves a lynching in Örebro's no-go zone of Vivalla, where a mob attacked a man in what was believed to be a deal between rival gangs; a 31-year-old ISIS returnee delivered a final blow with scissors. The returnee acknowledged striking the victim in the head, not intending to kill him.
According to the police, the former jihadist cut the victim in the face seven times. The returnee claimed he "saved people" and went so far as to demand a medal for his feat, the daily newspaper Expressen reported.
"Many of them have previously had a criminal background, so it's hardly surprising," Sweden's leading terrorism researcher Magnus Ranstorp of the National Defense College commented when describing the jihadis' criminal ways to SVT.
Two years ago, Ranstorp's team published a report on Sweden's "foreign fighters", which concluded that many of them indeed had a criminal background. Therefore, it's no wonder they returned to their previous lifestyle, he argued.
He attributed the fact that SVT found no ISIS brides who'd been convicted of crimes to the fact that they are largely isolated at home.
Ranstorp is an outspoken critic of Sweden's handling of jihadi returnees, which he called "beneath all criticism". Ranstorp has called for a national program for jihadi defectors similar to the one used for gang criminals.
Out of 300 Swedish jihadists, about 150 have returned home, and more are currently attempting to come back as their "caliphate" nears total defeat. Of those who have returned, only two men from Gothenburg were sentenced for terrorist offenses, fueling a hot debate on the future of ISIS returnees.
While the right-wing Sweden Democrats champion retroactive legislation against jihadists as well as laws that would necessitate that they be locked up for as long as they are deemed to pose a threat, several parties, including the governing Social Democrats and their temporary sidekicks the Liberals, have proposed an international tribunal.
Meanwhile, Sweden's traditional media are rife with calls to take back "ISIS brides" and their children.
Lawyer Thomas Olsson went so far as to stress in an opinion piece that trying to prevent ISIS terrorists from returning to Sweden was "undemocratic.”
You can read this article as it originally appears at Sputnik here.
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