Spain may prosecute citizens who join jihadi groups

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Spain to take tough stand on jihad grps
Madrid, Sept 17: The Spanish government is thinking about amending the criminal code to allow Spaniards who take part in foreign conflicts, especially those in which radical Islamic groups are involved, to be prosecuted on terrorism charges.

Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo referred to the measure in a speech before a parliamentary committee Tuesday detailing Spain's position vis-a-vis the jihadi threat from Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, which controls vast regions of Iraq and Syria.

In answer to charges that the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is not cooperating sufficiently with the international coalition against IS, Garcia-Margallo countered that "Spain has never been one to watch the bullfight from behind the barriers".

'Extremist jihadism is a complex challenge' says Spain's foreign min

He said Spain has in fact participated in numerous missions outside the country relating to the fight against the radical Islamist threat.

"We have been and we will be wherever our presence is needed and can be put to good use," Garcia-Margallo said.

A military solution "even though necessary, may not be the only answer to end jihadism" because "extremist jihadism is a complex challenge that demands complex responses" including preventive diplomacy, political dialogue and strengthening democratic institutions, he said.

The government would seek "internal consensus" within the cabinet and approval by parliament if the international community should ever call on Spain to participate in military operations against the IS, the foreign minister said.

IANS

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