The former chief of Swedish Security Service (Säpo), Malena Rembe, demands Sweden should “take home all IS Swedes”, in a controversial push to bring back terrorists and those tied to the IS group back into Sweden.
These include not only women and children but also men who fought for the terrorist organization, the Samnytt news outlet reported. Rembe is concerned about the safety of IS members because she believes they live in dangerous areas of the Middle East.
In her Sunday interview with Sydsvenskan, Rembe, who previously worked as counter-terrorism chief analyst, expressed her concern about the current situation in the Kurdish prison camp al-Hol in northern Syria.
According to Rembe, who herself has visited the prison camp and had conversations with IS women, it is an “extremely dangerous place” to stay. She, therefore, is appealing to the government of Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven not only to arrange a return journey for children who have Swedish citizenship but also the remaining men and women.
“Al-Hol is an extremely dangerous place. There are plenty of firearms and knives. People get drowned. People get suffocated with plastic bags,” said Rembe.
Her proposal is in the same spirit as the scathing letter of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, to the government. According to the UN, Sweden violates human rights by not assisting Swedish citizens with leaving the concentration camp and returning to Sweden.
However, it may prove a tall order for Swedes, who overwhelmingly reject more immigration into their country. Even the pro-migrant Löfven has signaled that Sweden cannot take in asylum seekers at the same levels as the past due to integration problems and spiraling crime.
The former Säpo chief claims that the only way to stop the spiral of violence of Islamist terrorism is to take care of the people in an orderly manner.
Furthermore, she is concerned that the rule of law is not of sufficient quality, and there is a risk that suspected IS terrorists will get killed. Therefore, she wants the government to forget political prestige, stop worrying about losing voters, and instead “bring home all Swedes.”
“As long as they are in prison camps with other IS supporters, it can be life-threatening to distance themselves from IS. You can get murdered,” said Malena Rembe.
As a solution to the risk that IS terrorists will continue to pose a terrorist threat in Sweden, Rembe believes that they would have to be radicalized in the first place. Rembe has no suggestions on how to proceed in concrete terms but believes that the task is not impossible and that resources are required.
“It will stand out to people that you invest so much in these individuals. But then we have to think: If we do not do that, they can pose a much greater threat,” added Rembe.
Title image: In this March 31, 2019 file, photo, women shop in the marketplace at al-Hol camp, home to families of Islamic State fighters, in Hasakeh province, Syria. Killings have surged inside the camp with at least 20 men and women killed in January, 2021. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, File)