Germany must repatriate from Syria IS fighter's wife and children: court

Evarado Alatorre
Julio 14, 2019

A court in Germany has ordered the country's foreign ministry to repatriate the German wife and three children of a suspected Islamic State (IS) fighter, a spokesperson for the court said.

The ruling came after the family sued the foreign ministry for declining a request to help the mother and her three children return to German from Kurdish-controlled northern Syria, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Like other Western countries, Germany faces a dilemma of how to deal with citizens who went to the Middle East to join groups like Islamic State, which was driven out of its last territorial enclave in March by US -backed forces.

The suspected fighter, whose fate is unknown, left Germany for Syria with his wife and two daughters, now aged 7 and 8, in 2014. His wife had a third child in Syria two years ago, the court spokesman said.

Germany had initially wanted to repatriate the children but not the mother.

The court said the Foreign Ministry should first verify the identity of the mother and her children before proceeding with their repatriation.

German intelligence officials say more than 1,000 Germans went to fight in Syria and Iraq, where ISIL once controlled swaths of territory in a self-declared Islamic state.

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U.S. President Donald Trump has urged Britain, France and Germany to take back more of their nationals from among the detainees and put them on trial.

Germany also previously said that it would bring back children of suspected IS fighters and designate relatives to be their legal custodians.

But in April, the government approved a draft bill allowing it to strip Germans with a second nationality who fight overseas for groups like Islamic State of their citizenship.

The administrative court in Berlin has ruled that the Federal government is committed to, family members of IS fighters get back to Germany.

Britain, meanwhile, said in April a "small number" of British children left Syria and returned to the United Kingdom via other countries.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN's high commissioner for human rights, called last month for some 55,000 former ISIL fighters detained in Syria and Iraq to face fair prosecution or be freed.

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