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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Radicalized sisters jailed on return from Syria

Two sisters from Bærum who voluntarily joined the IS terror group are now in custody back home in Norway after nearly 10 years in Syria. They were finally allowed to travel back to Oslo out of consideration for their three young daughters.

Their case has been a matter of great controversy in Norway, with some arguing that taxpayers should not have to finance their repatriation since they’d chosen to travel to the Middle East in 2013. They’d become radicalized and have now been formally charged with taking part in a terrorist organization. That’s why they were arrested upon arrival during the night, while their children were placed in the care of the state.

“They deny the terror charges against them but want as much calm as possible around themselves and their children,” their defense attorney Geir Lippestad told state broadcaster NRK on Wednesday. Others argue the women may have been victims of human trafficking.

Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt defended the sisters’ repatriation: “Living conditions in the camps are extremely poor and dangerous. These Norwegian children (born in Syria but eligible for Norwegian citizenship because of their mothers’) have lived a long time in these camps that no children should have to experience.” She said there was a high risk the children would be recruited into terror groups, while in Norway “the children can get the care they need.”

Kurdish authorities running the camps had criticized Norway for not taking responsibility for all five Norwegian citizens sooner. The mothers (whose IS husbands are deceased) now face a police investigation and terror trial. They claim they’d expected to take part in humanitarian work for IS, but instead wound up being married to IS soldiers, forced to have children and take care of makeshift homes. They were reportedly among the last to escape alive out of the Baghouz area in 2019 before IS troops were defeated.

NewsinEnglish.no staff

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