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How effective are terrorist rehabilitation programs?

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A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

Police in Indonesia were once lauded for their track record of rehabilitating hardened terrorists, turning them into informants and aides. But then a graduate of one of those programs turned back to terrorism and died in a spectacular shoot-out with police in August.

Saudi Arabia was also considered a good model of rehabilitating terrorists. But in January the kingdom disclosed that 11 graduates of the program had been rearrested for joining militant groups. [Editor’s note: The original version of this story contained a reference to an attacker who detonated a suicide bomb near a Saudi prince, and said the man graduated from Saudi Arabia’s terrorism rehabilitation program. He was not a graduate of the program.]

Many countries around the world – including Pakistan, Yemen, and the United States – are struggling with the issue of what to do with terrorism suspects in their custody. With Indonesia and Saudi Arabia's models seemingly compromised, rehabilitation has become both a pressing and confounding issue.

Recent attacks in Indonesia have generated much criticism of that country's rehabilitation efforts. But it doesn't mean the entire system needs to be thrown out, International Crisis Group's senior advisor for Asia Sidney Jones recently told The Jakarta Post.


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