Estonian-born Islamic extremist almost certainly dead, says ISS ({{commentsTotal}})

ISS director Arnold Sinisalu at a press conference on Friday.
ISS director Arnold Sinisalu at a press conference on Friday. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

An Estonian-born man who left the country in 2013 to fight for radical Islamic forces in the Syrian civil war almost certainly died there several years ago, Internal Security Service (ISS) director Arnold Sinisalu told the media on Friday.

Abdurrahman Sazanakov, who was born and raised in the Lasnamäe district of Tallinn, took the second name Azan after his induction into radical Islam, BNS reports, and joined Islamic extremists in Syria in 2013.

The Syrian civil war began in 2011 and is a multi-sided conflict; the primary force which embraces radical (or more accurately, revivalist), Salafi Jihadism is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, often abbreviated to ISIL, ISIS, or its Arabic acronym, Daesh. At the peak of its ''success'' it was in control of a vast swathe of land in eastern Syria and northwestern Iraq, but has been on the decline since. The group has been linked with a variety of crimes against humanity, including mass executions, purported filmed executions of individuals or smaller groups, often by beheading, and sometimes by other methods, including burning, sexual violence, and slavery.

Mr Sinisalu said there was a 99% likelihood that Sazanakov, who travelled to Syria with his wide Lolita and two children, who are Estonian citizens, had died at some point since going there, but some years ago, and that his grave is located in the vicinity of the Iraqi-Syrian border.

"There is of course the possibility that there is ongoing hiding and concealing from us. For understandable reasons, we cannot go there to dig up the remains and take a DNA sample. We more or less know the area of the grave. But this is an area of warfare, we cannot go there," Mr Sinisalu said.

He specified that, according to the ISS, Sazanakov died in Syria a few years ago and his grave is located around the Syria-Iraq border area.

Deportation of migrants threatening public order should be streamlined, says ISS

Meanwhile, according to the ISS yearbook published on Friday, the deportation of migrants (as noted Sazanakov was not a migrant) who pose a threat to Estonia's security and public order should be simplified.

Experience with and observations on revoking visas or residence permits of individuals who are a threat to national security, and their consequent deportation, indicate that this is a highly complex and bureaucratic process which can drag on for years, under the current regulations, the yearbook said.

"Given the dynamic current security environment in Europe, steps must be taken to make the process for deporting migrants who pose a threat to public order and national security more efficient and less burdensome for the state," the yearbook, which was making claims, not heralding changes in the regulations in progress, continued, according to BNS.

Syrian national Kovan Mohammad was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2017, after setting fire to his wife, at their Tallinn apartment, earlier that year.

Editor: Andrew Whyte



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