T&T Attorney General defends red flagging ‘terrorist fighters’

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Reprinted from TT Guardian

The “red flagging” of T&T nationals who went to areas associated with terrorist activity is a normal procedure and is necessary for T&T to meet its obligations under the United Nations’ anti-terrorism resolution, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi says.

T&T Attorney General ,Faris Al-Rawi
T&T Attorney General ,Faris Al-Rawi

Defending Government’s move to “red flag” such persons, Al-Rawi, at yesterday’s weekly government media briefing, said he understood concerns which have arisen in the Muslim community about it.

“I am Faris Al-Rawi,” he added, “I have an Iraqi name. I have Middle East roots also and I am certainly very well acquainted with the issue of red flagging… just having a name from the Middle East and having family in the Middle East can cause you to be the subject of secondary inquiries in foreign jurisdictions.

“So I understand concerns but this is very much an international  obligation. One must accept the risk of going to war-torn countries or those who have associations with known terrorist entities,” he added.

His comments arose following the issue resulting from UNC MP Roodal Moonilal’s statement in Parliament last week that 400 people have been indoctrinated, radicalised and trained by the Islamic State (Isis) and had gone to Syria, including men, women and children.

A 2013-2015 security report obtained by the T&T Guardian showed approximately 105 men, women and children listed as going to Syria to support Isis over that period.

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon later said Government would be “red flagging” those who had gone and also would monitor pilgrimages to track culprits who tried to use that as conceal travel to Syria.

Yesterday, one representative went to the Ministry of National Security to book an appointment to speak with Dillon on the issue.

Al-Rawi appeared at Government’s subsequent briefing to stress that Government would be applying anti-terrorism laws, related legislation and provisions of his office as well as the Financial Intelligence Unit anti-money laundering provisions. Also in his sights are terrorist financing issues and processing the return to T&T of terrorist fighters.

He said that would apply in taking issues to court and operationalising existing laws. He said he had just returned from the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force’s (CFATF) US meeting where such issues were discussed. T&T heads CFATF.

When asked if Government had numbers on the people who would be monitored Al-Rawi replied: “We do…” He did not elaborate.

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