Iraq appeals to foreign diplomats to take home their ‘Daesh children’

Displaced Syrian children from the eastern Deir Ezzor province, queue for water inside Al-Hol camp for displaced people in Al-Hasakeh governorate in northeastern Syria on May 28. (AFP)
Updated 03 June 2019

Iraq appeals to foreign diplomats to take home their ‘Daesh children’

  • Thousands of foreigners traveled through Turkey and Syria to join the declared state

BAGHDAD: The Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council has asked embassies and consulates operating in Iraq to look after the children of convicted mothers from their countries who were involved with Daesh and arrested in Iraq, Iraqi officials said on Sunday.
Daesh is one of the most bloody radical organizations in modern history and gained control over almost one-third of Iraqi territory, in the Sunni-dominated northern and western parts of the country, in summer 2014 when the Iraqi army had dramatically collapsed due to the financial and administrative corruption rampant in the security establishment.
Seizing vast areas extending across the Iraqi-Syrian border and gaining tremendous financial and oil resources, the organization was encouraged to declare a 7th century state-style Islamic caliphate and called on its supporters around the world to join the “State of Caliphate.” Thousands of foreigners traveled through Turkey and Syria to join the declared state, either to fight “the unbelievers” or to provide the required support.
Iraqi security forces, backed by the Shiite-dominated paramilitary troops and US-led military coalition, had launched wide military campaigns late in 2014 to liberate the areas-seized by Daesh inside Iraq. The military liberation operations ended in December 2017 when Mosul, the capital of the State of Caliphate and the last stronghold of the organization in Iraq, was liberated.
Thousands of Daesh fighters, including foreigners, were either killed or arrested by the Iraqi security forces during these operations. The families of local fighters who have no direct link to Daesh were relocated in camps settled on the edges of the liberated cities, especially in Anbar and Mosul, while the families of the foreign fighters were arrested and sent to Baghdad to be investigated and tried.
The Baghdad’s Central Criminal Court is trying to extradite more than 1,000 foreign children, mostly from Eastern Europe, whose parents had joined Daesh and were arrested in Iraq during the past years, Iraqi officials told Arab News.
The children, who are held with their convicted mothers, are aged between several months and 15 years old. Not all of them have identity documents, so the Iraqi authorities get blood samples from their mothers to do a DNA test.

FASTFACT

• Thousands of Daesh fighters, including foreigners, were either killed or arrested by the Iraqi security forces during these operations.

• Some of those children’s mothers have been sentenced to death or life imprisonment for their involvement in terrorism activities.

Some of those children’s mothers have been sentenced to death or life imprisonment for their involvement in Daesh terrorism activities. Iraqi laws do not allow convicted mothers to retain their children above the age of 3 with them inside the jail, so they have to be handed to their families at home, officials said.
“The Supreme Judicial Council deals with this in accordance with international laws and agreements, as embassies were told to send their representatives to attend the trials conducted for their nationals by the Iraqi courts,” the Higher Judiciary System press office said, quoting an Iraqi judge involved in reviewing the cases of the Daesh children.
“All embassies and consulates of the countries that those convicted belong to have been reached to take over the children after completing the DNA verification procedures.”
Officials said that many embassies have already received children belonging to their nations.
On Saturday, the Turkish Embassy received 122 children under the supervision of the Iraqi prosecutor and the Iraqi Ministry of Justice, a statement issued by the ministry of Justice read. Earlier, Tajikistan government received 90 of their convicted citizens’ children, Russia 77, German 10, France 5 and Sweden 3, officials said.

SPEEDREAD

The Baghdad’s Central Criminal Court is trying to extradite more than 1,000 foreign children, mostly from Eastern Europe, whose parents had joined Daesh.

The return of foreign Daesh fighters and their children represents a big problem for some governments, which have refused to deal with it.
Iraqi officials told Arab News that many European and Arab governments refuse to attend the hearings of their nationals and they refuse to accept their children and do not want to have any connection with them.
“Some countries reject to receive the children of their citizens. They do not want to deal with them or hear anything about them,” a senior Iraqi security official told Arab News.
“Some Arabic countries are in front of these countries especially Jordan, Syria and Egypt.”


Fresh allegations about mistreatment of Kurds in Turkey

Updated 29 September 2020

Fresh allegations about mistreatment of Kurds in Turkey

  • Opposition party submits parliamentary question on torture after villagers allegedly thrown from military helicopter

ANKARA: The mistreatment of Kurds in Turkey is under the spotlight again following allegations of torture and food poisoning.

Three politicians from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) who were recently arrested said they were hospitalized with food poisoning during their detention, while Amnesty International has demanded the government investigate allegations that two Kurds were thrown out of a military helicopter.

The government accuses the HDP of ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and thousands of its members have been prosecuted for the same reason, including its leaders. The HDP denies such links. The PKK is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and US.

The HDP politicians, including Ayhan Bilgen who is mayor of Van province, fell ill after eating food served at Ankara police headquarters.

Bilgen was not immediately taken to hospital, nor was he allowed to talk to his legal team until after HDP lawmakers had talked with government officials to have him hospitalized.

The trio are under arrest as part of a probe into violent protests that took place in Kobane in 2014. Their detention period was extended on Monday by another four days.

Amnesty International has urged the government to investigate allegations that two Kurds, aged 55 and 50, were thrown from a military helicopter in Van. The rights group voiced its concerns about the “allegations of torture and mistreatment” which it said were unacceptable under international human rights law and standards that Turkey was obliged to comply with.

The men alleged to have been thrown out of a military helicopter were arrested on Sept. 11 as part of an operation against the PKK. Both were hospitalized and had signs of heavy beatings on their bodies.

One of the men was shown to the media with a bloodied face. He is experiencing memory loss. The other man’s condition remains critical. He is suffering from brain trauma, broken ribs, a punctured lung, and has been in intensive care for more than two weeks.

Relatives of the villagers have demanded justice and the uncovering of the truth through a proper investigation.

Amnesty International wants Turkey to investigate the case impartially, and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has submitted a parliamentary question about the allegations of torture.

HDP lawmaker Ali Kenanoglu said his party would follow up the mistreatment allegations at a domestic and international level.

“Kurds have become the scapegoat of the current regime because they are considered as the easiest target that doesn’t have any strong social support behind it,” he told Arab News. “Currently all policies involving war and violence are conducted by targeting Kurds. The mistreatment regarding this segment of society has not received strong backing so far, which opens more room for such efforts.”

Once the Kurdish lawmakers were arrested they were automatically under state protection, he said. “However, state impunity still prevails when it comes to the implementation of the rights of Kurdish community.”

On Monday, HDP deputies and officials were outside the parliament building to protest against the detention of their colleagues, who are accused of inciting violence in Kobane.

Amnesty International’s Turkey campaigner, Milena Buyum, called for a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into the ill-treatment of Kurdish villagers.

“Those found to be responsible should be brought to justice in a fair trial,” she told Arab News. “Turkey is bound by the UN Convention Against Torture and the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture, both of which it is a party to. The Committee for the Prevention of Torture of the Council of Europe is tasked with monitoring places of detention in member states and can ask questions regarding the cases of alleged torture and other ill-treatment. As Amnesty International, we will continue monitoring the developments in this shocking case.”

Buyum said that people in detention must be allowed access to their lawyers once they were deprived of their liberty.

“The delay in speaking to the lawyers is concerning. The HDP representatives have been able to consult their legal representatives after four days. They still don't know the substance of the allegations they face as they have not yet been questioned.”

The rights group said that there was increased concern about detention conditions because of the pandemic, and that authorities should step up their efforts to ensure the health and safety of those in custody.

Separately, a Kurdish singer said on Monday that he had been warned by security and intelligence officials against singing in his mother tongue and to stay away from HDP events.

“You will be in trouble if you sing in Kurdish again,” Cesim Basboga was reportedly told. "You’ve been provoking people with songs.”

Basboga will file a complaint.