Israel/Middle East (News & Politics)/Fighting in Syria etc.

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Question
Hi,

There have been a lot of reports in the media about the UK government arresting Sunnis who have returned to the UK after having gone abroad to fight the Assad government in Syria for a time. Now, I was wondering about the legality of this. I mean, these people might well be seen as being potential future terrorists in the UK, but I presume(?) they can only be arrested if they have talked online etc. about actually planning attacks against the UK or are caught in possession of weapons? Is this correct or can the UK government do what it likes, in this regard?

What would happen if a Shia Muslim from the United Kingdom came and fought on behalf of the government in Syria? I would assume that, technically, since they are fighting on behalf of a government rather than on behalf of rebels-plus-terrorists, that they could not be arrested in the UK, especially since the UK is not at war with Syria. is this correct? Thanks! Geoff

Answer
Hello. The UK has more leeway regarding legally detaining people on security grounds than do many other countries--including the US. There are limits, but in effect, the UK government can do virtually what it chooses in this regard. Most likely, under the same circumstances, a Shia Muslim would encounter the same action. The technicality you mention would not change this.

Regards.

Israel/Middle East (News & Politics)

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Mayer Nudell

Expertise

Questions related to terrorism, travel security, crisis management, contingency planning, and related matters.

Experience

Currently a consultant to various government, academic, and multi-national organizations and adjunct professor at Webster University. Formerly, U.S. diplomat. Certified Security and Safety Consultant.

Organizations
ASIS International, International Institute of Security and Safety Management, International Association of Chiefs of Police

Publications
Author of 2 books; articles in Security Management, Marine Corps Gazette, Risk Management, The World & I, Journal of Defense & Diplomacy, and other magazines.

Education/Credentials
M.S. International Public Administration, University of Southern California, 1973. Certifcat d'Assiduité, University of Grenoble, France, 1972. B.S. Foreign Service, Georgetown University, 1971. Foreign Service Institute, 1975-76. Police Reserve Training, Washington, D.C Police Academy, 1982. FBI Hostage Negotiation Seminar, 1983. FBI Victimology Seminar, 1983. Crisis Response Management Seminar, U.S. Government Joint Training Center, 1983. FAA Civil Aviation Security Seminar, Transportation Safety Institute, 1983. Terrorism Seminar, GSA Training Center, 1987. Risk Assessment-Contingency Planning Seminar, GSA Training Center, 1988. Emergency Management U.S.A., FEMA Emergency Management Institute, National Emergency Training Center, 1990. Conflict Negotiation Training, Prince George's Police Training Academy, 1992. Advanced Hostage Negotiation Training, Prince George's County Police Department, 1993. Preparing for and Managing Consequences of Terrorism, National Interagency Counterdrug Institute, 1997. Court Security Seminar, Delaware State Capitol Police Department, 1997. Emergency Response to Terrorism, National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center, 2000.

Awards and Honors
Group Meritorious Honor Award, U.S. Department of State, 1980, 1982. Distinguished Leadership Award, American Biographical Institute, 1987. Certificate of Appreciation, Washington, D.C. Chapter, American Society for Industrial Security, 1987, 1991, 1992, 1994. Certificate of Appreciation, Bureau of Business Practice, 1989. Certificate of Appreciation, International Association of Chiefs of Police, 1989. President's Award, American Society for Industrial Security, 1990. Grand Winner, Mercury Awards, 1990. John Edgar Hoover Memorial Gold Medal for Distinguished Public Service, American Police Hall of Fame, 1991. Certificate of Appreciation, Tactical Response Association, 1992. Certificate of Appreciation, TREXPO Conference on Special Tactics & Security, 1994. G2I Cyber Award for OSINT Excellence, 1997, 1998, 1999. Award for Exceptional Service, National Capital Chapter, ASIS International, 2003. Listed in various Who's Who publications.

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