Rehabilitation program to be formed for locals returning from war

Maldivians fighting in Syria.

The Anti Terrorism Bill is set to be amended so that a rehabilitation program is included for Maldivians returning after taking part in wars abroad.

The government has included a special chapter as part of the amendments to be presented to the parliament that outlines a procedure that is to be followed when dealing with locals returning from war and their families.

Militants are defined in the chapter as:

  • A person who travels abroad to take part in a war by a terrorist organization or by terrorists who do not belong to a specific organization.
  • A person who aids to plan, prepare, assist or take part in acts of terrorism.
  • A person who trains others for acts of terrorism including war or a person who receives such training.

The special chapter highlights that those returning from war will be provided the chance to rehabilitate themselves and return to the community under special conditions. These individuals would at first be arrested on return to the country and detained at a special temporary center after a risk assessment is carried out.

The bill also states that someone arrested in this manner should be presented before a judge within 48 hours. They can also be detained at the temporary center mentioned above for 30 days only. The judge must also rule that the individual can be detained for only 30 days without the risk assessment and rehabilitation process mentioned in the bill.

What is the risk assessment under this amendment?

The risk assessment will determine whether the individual has actively taken part in acts of terrorism in any manner. If the individual is not involved in such acts, the assessment will determine whether there is a chance of that individual carrying out such acts or have been trained for such acts or have been subjected to such crimes. The assessment is required to be carried out within 30 days.

The individuals will be classified into two categories after the assessment.

1. Individuals suspected of an act of terror

After the risk assessment is conducted, it should be determined whether the individual has actively taken part in acts of terror. This category will include those individuals who took part in acts of terror, carried out acts of terror and those trained for such acts of terror. The provision also allows such individuals to be detained further and charge them. If the individual is underaged, then he/she will be dealt with under the criminal justice system, according to the bill.

Even if the person is not found guilty of any of the acts in this bill, the individual would still need to complete the rehabilitation program under the bill since he/she returned from a war-torn region and thus might be subjected to acts of terror.

2. Individuals subjected to terrorism

The amendment states that if the assessment determines that the person did not take part in any acts of terror and was not trained for such acts, then the individual will be determined as a person who was subjected to acts of terror. 

Such individuals will need to undergo the rehabilitation programs by the relevant ministry to return to ordinary life.