Tunis/Tunisia — All Tunisians returning from conflict zones will be prosecuted upon arrival on the national territory with the exception of children under 13 years old accompanying their parents, said National Counter-Terrorism Commission (CNLCT) President Mokhtar Ben Nasr.
"The new government should welcome Tunisian nationals returning from conflict zones, in compliance with Tunisia's international commitments," he added on Monday in Tunis, on the fringes of a conference on "Gender and violent extremism in North Africa: To the root of the problem."
He pointed out that Tunisia has already welcomed four people back from the conflict zones with the assistance of countries that have pledged to help Tunisia in this matter, without mentioning them. "Negotiations are currently underway to accelerate the repatriation of five other Tunisian terror suspects," he added.
Ben Nasr was reassuring about the prospect of a return to Tunisia of suspected terrorists who would benefit from the Turkish offensive in north-eastern Syria and the fall of the Islamic State Organisation known as "Daech."
"There is no reason to worry," Ben Nasr said, accusing some media of inflating the issue and worrying the population with misleading and thoughtless comments.
In his view, this subject should not be exploited for political or social purposes since any person who arrives on Tunisian soil from conflict zones will be imprisoned or placed in police custody.
"This is a subject that we are following very closely and I want to reassure the entire population that there is no question of a single Tunisian national arriving on the national soil without being prosecuted," he affirmed.
The official explained that these people are immediately taken care of by the justice system upon their arrival. For adults, of course, it is prison or police custody, he specified, adding that children under 13 years old are immediately taken care of by the State in the event of the loss of their parents.
Besides, Ben Nasr indicated that the government is currently endeavouring to ensure the repatriation of trapped children in Libya, explaining that these children could have reached Tunisia some time ago, but their repatriation has been postponed many times because of the fighting in that country.