Arab Times

Convict tries to return:


A Tunisian man who was sent back home after serving a seven-year prison term in Italy on terrorism charges returned to the country on a migrant boat, Italian officials said Tuesday.

The case of Mehdi Ben Nasr is significan­t because right-wing, anti-immigrant politician­s have long warned that extremists could blend in with the boatloads of migrants arriving on Italian shores.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement to The Associated Press that Ben Nasr arrived in Lampedusa, Sicily on Oct 4 and was expelled again a week later.

He had been convicted in Italy for being part of a network of Islamic extremists who recruited fighters to go to Iraq.

After completing his sentence in April 2014, he was sent back to Tunisia, only to return 18 months later aboard a migrant boat, the ministry said.

Interior Minister Angelino Alfano has said he can’t exclude the risk that extremists could use the cover of the migrant crisis to gain access to Europe, but has stressed that Italy’s system of monitoring and registerin­g migrants was effective.

Tunisian authoritie­s didn’t immediatel­y respond to a request for informatio­n about Ben Nasr’s status, or whether he had been placed under any form of surveillan­ce when he was expelled from Italy for the first time in 2014.

Italy’s relations with Tunisian authoritie­s have been somewhat strained over another case, that of Abdel Majid Touil. (AP)

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