Iraq calls for repatriation of children of foreign militants

A members of the Iraqi Federal Police patrols the streets of Baghdad’s Shula district, as part of inforced security measures taken by the government following the excecution of 13 death row jihadists on June 29, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 03 July 2018

Iraq calls for repatriation of children of foreign militants

  • At least 833 children of 14 nationalities are currently in prison in Iraq
  • Under Iraqi law, children can face up to 15 years in prison for violent acts

BAGHDAD: Iraq called Tuesday for the home countries of foreign Islamist militants held in its jails to repatriate hundreds of children of the captured militants.
At least 833 children of 14 nationalities are currently in prison in Iraq, according to the Joint Operations Command, which coordinates the fight against the Daesh group.
“We ask all diplomatic missions in Iraq, resident and non-resident, to take back their nationals who have served their sentences and children who are not convicted,” said foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Mahjoub.
“Iraq has informed all of the countries that have citizens in its prisons. We have already spoken with the embassies of Germany, Azerbaijan, Russia and other countries to take (their citizens) back.”
Iraqi law renders children punishable at the age of nine, according to Human Rights Watch.
They face five years in prison for belonging to Daesh, which swept across Iraq in 2014 and controlled large swathes of the country until last year.
Under Iraqi law, children can face up to 15 years in prison for violent acts.
A Russian diplomatic source in Moscow told AFP that there “are 70 Russian women on trial and there are about 100 children in Iraqi prisons.”
“We are trying to bring these children back to Russia after identifying them because almost all of them do not have identity papers,” the source said.


Troops halt Lebanese ‘revolution bus’ over security concerns

Lebanese anti-government protesters flash victory signs as they head to the south of Lebanon on a 'revolution' bus from central Beirut on November 16, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 17 November 2019

Troops halt Lebanese ‘revolution bus’ over security concerns

  • The protest convoy is aiming to reach Nabatieh and Tyre, two cities that have challenged Hezbollah and the Amal Movement in southern Lebanon during weeks of unrest

BEIRUT: A Lebanese “revolution bus” traveling from north to south to unite protesters was halted by troops outside the city of Sidon on Saturday.
The army set up a road block to prevent the bus and a large protest convoy entering Sidon, the third-largest city in the country.
Local media said that the decision had been made to defuse tensions in the area following widespread protests.
Lebanese troops blocked the Beirut-South highway at the Jiyeh-Rumailah checkpoint over “security concerns,” a military source told Arab News.
“Some people in Sidon objected to the crossing of the bus and we feared that problems may take place,” the source added.
A protester in Ilya Square in Sidon said: “Those who do not want the bus to enter Sidon should simply leave the square because there are many who want to welcome the bus.”
The army allowed the bus to enter the town of Rumailah, 2 km from Sidon. “The bus will stop here after nightfall because of security fears and the risk of an accident,” the military source said.
The protest convoy is aiming to reach Nabatieh and Tyre, two cities that have challenged Hezbollah and the Amal Movement in southern Lebanon during weeks of unrest.
Activists said the protest bus “is spreading the idea of a peaceful revolution by unifying the people.”
“The pain is the same from the far north of Lebanon to the south and the only flag raised is the Lebanese flag,” one activist said.
Organizers of the protest convoy rejected claims that the cities of Sidon, Nabatieh and Tyre were reluctant to welcome the bus, and voiced their respect for the Lebanese army decision.

After leaving Akkar the bus passed through squares that witnessed protests in Tripoli, Batroun, Jbeil, Zouk Mosbeh, Jal El Dib and Beirut. Protesters chanted “Revolution” and lined the route of the convoy, turning it into a “procession of the revolution.”
The bus paused in Khalde, where the first victim of the protests, Alaa Abu Fakhr, was shot and killed a few days ago by a Lebanese soldier. The victim’s widow and family welcomed the convoy and protesters laid wreaths at the site of the shooting.
Activists’ tweets on Saturday claimed that life in Beirut’s southern suburbs is as difficult as in other areas of Lebanon.
“As a Shiite girl living in the heart of the southern suburbs, I deny that we are living well and not suffering. We are in a worse position than the rest of the regions,” said an activist who called herself Ruanovsky.
“No one is doing well,” said Wissam Abdallah. “The suburbs have external security and safety, but unfortunately there is a lot of corruption. There are forged car van plates, motorcycle mafia, Internet and satellite mafia, royalties mafia, and hashish and drugs mafia. Municipalities have to deal with these things as soon as possible.”