France returnee Saif has contact with Syria-based militants: Police

Saif Rahman.

Police have claimed that they have information about the contacts of the Syrian-based extremist organisation with Saif Rahman who has returned from France.

He is on a two-day remand under the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) of police . The French government permanently expelled Saif from the country, considering it a risk to the country.

CTTC deputy commissioner Saiful Islam on Saturday told Prothom Alo that they had received information from Saif's his mobile phone and laptop about his contact with the Syrian-based militant group .

However, Saif told them that he had contacted with the militant group to cooperate with the French police. His purpose was to gather information for them. The police are checking the information obtained from Saif Rahman and the statement given by him.

According to the CTTC sources, the French authorities had earlier informed Bangladesh about the expulsion of Saif Rahaman. A team of the French police brought him to Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.

Police detained him from there under section 54. Police took Saif Rahman to the court and appealed for his remand. Besides, they also appealed to the Institute of Modern Language of Dhaka University to translate the document on Saif written in French from the French government.

According to the translated report, the foreign ministry of France mentioned that Saif had wanted to visit the area controlled by the banned militant outfit ‘Daesh’ (Islamic State). The report also states that Saif had a tendency to engage in militant activities. Terrorist groups often encourage the ‘emerging jihadists’ who have not been able to reach Iraq and Syria. In different countries, they are causing violence, especially through Daesh. The recurrences of terrorist attacks in France have recently increased a lot.

The translated report from the French ministry of interior further states, a terrorist attack was carried out in front of the then office of Charlie Hebdo in Paris. There were attacks in Conflans St Honorine on 16 October and in Leech on 29 October. The report states Saif Rahman can also cause violence on French soil.

French interior ministry further states that Saif al-Rahman's presence in the country poses a major threat to the state's law and order in the face of the current threat of a terrorist attack. Therefore, it is necessary to order his expulsion from this country at any time considering the risk of any further major violent incident.

According to the report, Saif used to live in Bangladesh until he was 18. He came to France recently. He is unmarried. Although his parents live in France, they can visit Bangladesh to see their son. His expulsion order will not extensively undermine the natural, personal and family life related rights. After getting the translated version of the report, the police filed a case against Saif under the anti-terrorism act.

Saiful Islam, inspector of the counter terrorism investigation unit of CTTC, alleged in the case statement that despite being a citizen of Bangladesh Saif Rahman tried to join the international terrorist group Daesh from abroad.

He tarnished the image of the country by planning terrorist attacks. His intention was to disrupt the security of France. He has tried to damage the country's property and has carried out propaganda offences punishable under anti-terrorism laws.

However, Jinat Rahman, Saif Rahman's mother, has claimed that her son is a victim of the situation. She told Prothom Alo that her husband Lutfar Rahman had been working at a university in France since 2001. After the O level test, Saif moved to his father with his mother in 2015. He was a meritorious student. The following year, he was admitted to a government university in France to study physics. He had only two semesters left to complete his graduation.

Jinat said both of their visas had expired. Then a letter was sent to them to be interviewed for a 10-year visa. Coincidentally, at the same time, new laws were passed in France to "protect secular values" and widespread arrests began. During the interview, his son was also asked about burning the effigy of Emmanuel Macron during a protest in Dhaka.

Jinat claims that the punishment for being involved with terrorism is severe in France. If his son had been involved, then the trial would have been held in France. He could not be sent back to Bangladesh. Apart from that, the expulsion order did not say that he had any links with any militant group, it was said that there was a risk for the future. it was said his right to life would be disrupted in Bangladesh.

However, police say there is evidence that in the past, extremists from abroad have tried to communicate with local extremist organisations. The police will decide about Saif Rahman after further investigations.