Corbyn Defended Fighters Returning From Syria

Jeremy Corbyn spoke in defence of fighters returning from Syria and argued people who express support for ISIS should not be prosecuted. In a 2014 parliamentary debate, Corbyn told the Commons the UK should not make “value judgments” about fighters returning from Syria and questioned the “legal obstacles” facing ISIS fighters arriving back in Britain:

“I feel that we should think about this rather more carefully and avoid the knee-jerk reaction of saying, “These are bad fighters and those are good fighters, so we will ban these and allow those in… I have encountered young people who have been attracted to what ISIS is doing. They say that what the West did in Iraq and Afghanistan was appalling, and was questionably legal in the case of Afghanistan and definitely illegal in the case of Iraq. We are living with the consequences of the war on terror of 2001, and if we continue to try to create legal obstacles and make value judgments about people without considering the overall policy we are following, we will return to legislation such as this again and again, year after year.”

Asked if ISIS fighters returning to Britain should face action, Corbyn said ISIS supporters should not be prosecuted for “expressing a political point of view”:

“I have no support for ISIS whatsoever, and obviously [measures] should apply to someone who has committed crimes, but we should bear in mind that expressing a political point of view is not in itself an offence. The commission of a criminal act is clearly a different matter, but expressing a point of view, even an unpalatable one, is sometimes quite important in a democracy. We should be slightly cautious about announcing that we will start to deal with people on the basis of a general view that they have expressed. We should think seriously about where our foreign policy has brought us, and what our legislative position now is.”

Would Jeremy Corbyn have made a “value judgement” about Salman Abedi when he returned from Syria and Libya? Would he have opposed “legal obstacles” to him returning to Britain? Does Corbyn really believe people expressing support for ISIS should not face measures from the government? These words are horrendous for Corbyn in the context of the last few weeks…




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