Austrian citizen of Turkish decent Azad G. was treated for a gunshot wound and received a guaranteed minimum wage for 14 months after returning from Syria in 2014, where he had fought on the side of Daesh*, Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung reported. Despite initially looking into Azad G.'s persona, Austrian investigators dropped the case and failed to notify authorities in Vienna about their suspicions, the newspaper added.
Although the Daesh* militant was on an army black list, which prevented him from having the opportunity to receive advanced training (he received basic training in 2010), the Interior Ministry allowed him to travel back to Syria in 2015, where he again joined the caliphate. However, this was not before he received 12,400 euros in Austrian tax money in the form of social benefits during his stay after treatment in the country, Kronen Zeitung added.
A year later, in 2016, an international arrest warrant was issued on Azad G., although his location in Syria remained unknown. He was finally captured by the Kurdish militia in 2019. The militant reportedly expressed remorse at what he had done and asked to be allowed to return to Vienna. According to the Austrian newspaper, the country's Interior Ministry is not interested in bringing the militant back.
As Daesh* has been decimated in Syria and fully expelled from Iraq, many of its former followers from abroad decided to return to their homelands, pleading for governments to allow them to return. However, many governments are uninterested in allowing the return of those who have claimed to be innocent, as well as war criminals in order to put them to trial.
The UK has refused to take back — and even stripped of citizenship — three Daesh* brides, including Shamima Begum, a wife of Dutch Daesh fighter Yago Riedijk. Begum, who is currently in a Syrian refugee camp, had asked London to allow her and her new-born son to return to the UK. The Home Office declined her request, while offering to take in her son alone. Begum denied the offer and soon her son died of pneumonia, spurring criticism against the British authorities.
*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia