Moroccan authorities announced Sunday the repatriation of eight Moroccans from war-torn Syria on “humanitarian grounds”, noting that this operation is part of Morocco’s contributions to international counterterrorism efforts.
The repatriated individuals are currently undergoing investigations following which they will stand before justice on charges of terrorism, le360 news website reported.
Joining individually or collectively terrorist organizations abroad, even if Morocco is not targeted, is in itself a terrorist offense according to Morocco’s anti-terrorism law.
Defendants risk prison terms ranging from five to fifteen years and fines from 50,000 dirhams to 500,000 dirhams.
Immediately after Morocco repatriated the eight individuals, the US commended the move, describing the North African Kingdom as “a highly capable partner” in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.
Morocco is member of the US-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. The 75-member Coalition, set up in 2014, is committed to tackling ISIS on all fronts, to dismantling its networks and to countering its global ambitions.
According to official figures, there were around 1,700 Moroccans fighting with the Islamic State group (ISIS) in Syria, Iraq and Libya. Many of them had been killed in suicide bombings in Syria and Iraq and 242 had been arrested.