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Government to introduce stronger counter-terrorism laws to deal with Kiwi jihadist, others

The Government is introducing new laws to prevent terrorism and de-radicalise New Zealanders coming back from overseas, in preparation for the possible return of Kiwi jihadist Mark Taylor. 

Taylor, who is originally from Hamilton, is being held in a Syrian prison after being captured by Kurdish forces. It comes as tensions have risen after US troops were pulled from northern Syria and Turkish forces moved in, increasing the possibility of foreign ISIS fighters returning back to their countries of origin. 

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It could put more restrictions on people like Kiwi Jihadi Mark Taylor. Source: 1 NEWS

The legislation would strengthen New Zealand's counter terrorism laws, giving police the ability "to impose control orders on New Zealanders who have engaged in terrorism related activities overseas", Justice Minister Andrew Little said. 

"Control orders are an effective way of managing risk if criminal prosecution is not possible, for example due to insufficient evidence being available from current overseas conflict zones.

"Conditions will be imposed to reduce the immediate risks to public safety, and to support the person’s de-radicalisation and reintegration into New Zealand society.

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Karolina Dam's 18-year-old son was radicalised and died fighting in Syria in 2014. Source: 1 NEWS

"The more serious the risk, the more restrictive the conditions are likely to be."

Earlier this week, law professor Andrew Geddis pointed that Taylor may not be captured under the country's Terrorism Suppression Act because of uncertainty over what activities, or crimes, he participated in.

"Actually being a member of terrorist organisation is not an offense, and doing things that help the terrorist organisation is not in itself an offence unless you're doing it for the purpose of aiding a terrorist act."

When asked last month on her position of leaving Taylor in Syria, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, "the messages have been utterly clear and unequivocal". 

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Jacinda Ardern said attempting to bring Mark Taylor back from Syria would come with risk to New Zealand personnel. Source: 1 NEWS

"A. Do not travel to Syria, and B. Do not engage in terrorist activity," she said. 

"There is an individual who is now in a camp where we do not have consulate assistance available and where it would come at risk to provide that assistance."

In August, US President Donald Trump told media "we have thousands ISIS fighters that we want Europe to take and let’s see if they take them".

"If they don't take them, we’ll probably have to release them to Europe."

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There’s limited access to evidence regarding the ISIS fighter’s time in Syria, Andrew Geddis told Breakfast. Source: Breakfast