Analysis 28 Mar 17

No Deradicalisation Schemes for Bosnian Terror Convicts

Because of a lack of resources, Bosnians convicted of fighting for radical Islamist groups abroad are not helped to ‘deradicalise’ in jail or to reintegrate into society after their release.

Denis Dzidic
BIRN
Sarajevo

Fikret Hadzic was convicted of fighting for Islamic State in Syria, although he denies being a member of the Islamist group and insists he only visited the country on two occasions in 2013 and 2015 in order to help people there. Photo: BIRN

Prison inmates in Bosnia and Herzegovina who were convicted of fighting in terrorist organisations do not undergo a deradicalisation programme in prisons – and some experts warn that they can even manage to radicalise others while behind bars.

The lack of financial resources is the reason why 12 people who have been convicted of abetting or fighting for foreign terrorist organisations in Syria and Iraq, and who are currently serving their sentences in Bosnia and Herzegovina, are not required to subject themselves to deradicalisation programmes.

Experts also argue that the number of psychologists and sociologists working in prisons is insufficient for attempts to prevent further radicalisation.

Psychologist Renata Krstanovic also said that prisoners are usually hopeless and therefore susceptible to radical ideas, and that psychologists are expected to act as “firefighters” in jails.

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Background

Western Balkans on Alert Over ISIS Threat

Countries in the region have raised security levels and introduced new precautions to counter the threat of terrorist attacks by Islamic State.

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