Iraq repatriates 188 Turkish children of suspected ISIS members
Iraq has handed over 188 Turkish children left behind by suspected Islamic State (ISIS) members to Turkey, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing a judiciary spokesman.
Government officials from both countries, UNICEF and representatives of the Iraqi judiciary were present during the handover that took place at Baghdad airport and remained on site until the children got on the airplane to take them home, Reuters said.
“The central investigations court which is responsible for the terrorism file and foreign suspects has handed the Turkish side 188 children left behind by Daesh terrorists in Iraq,” it quoted Judge Abdul-Sattar al-Birqdar as saying, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.
The group includes children who had reached the age of criminal responsibility in Iraq – nine years old – and had been convicted of illegally crossing the border and served out their sentences.
About 1,100 children of ISIS members are caught up in the Iraqi justice system, Reuters said, with the youngest staying with their mothers in prison.
Several hundred older children are being prosecuted for offences such as illegally entering Iraq and fighting for ISIS, while some 185 children aged nine to 18 have already been convicted and received sentences in juvenile detention in Baghdad.
In April Germany repatriated the children of ISIS members detained in Iraq and earlier this month Kazakhstan brought home 231 of its citizens from Syria, including 156 children of ISIS fighters.