| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

New Zealand accepts return of Islamic State-linked citizen

On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she had agreed to a request from Turkish authorities to accept the return of a New Zealand citizen suspected of having ties to the Islamic State, as well as her two young children.

The three have been held in Turkish immigration detention since they were apprehended attempting to enter Turkey from Syria earlier this year. The Turkish government demanded that the family be repatriated to Turkey.

“This is not a little step for New Zealand. We’ve considered both our international responsibilities and the specifics of this situation, such as the fact that children are involved “After a cabinet meeting in Wellington, Ardern issued a statement.

The woman was a dual citizen of New Zealand and Australia. Her family moved to Australia when she was six years old, and she grew up there until 2014, when she traveled to Syria under an Australian passport.

Despite demands from New Zealand, the Australian government stripped her citizenship and refused to reconsider the decision.

Earlier this year, Ardern said Australia’s decision was wrong and the country was abdicating its responsibilities by “unilaterally” cancelling the citizenship of the woman.

Australia has provided assurances it will consult with New Zealand if similar such case arises in future, Ardern said.

Details about arrangements or timing to bring the family home will not be made public due to security reasons.

Turkish authorities have said that the woman, 26, was a DAESH (Islamic State) terrorist wanted with a ‘blue notice’.

An Interpol blue notice is issued to collect additional information about a person’s identity, location or activities in relation to a crime.

“It has previously been made clear that any New Zealander who might be suspected of association with a terrorist group should expect to be investigated under New Zealand law, but that would be a matter for the Police,” Ardern said.

  • Reuters