Appeals court: Belgium doesn't have to repatriate women, children from Syria

By Darryl Coote

Feb. 27 (UPI) -- An appeals court in Belgium sided with the government Wednesday overturning a December ruling that would have forced the European country to repatriate two women from Syria who had joined the Islamic State.

The ruling was a defeat for Bouchra Abouallal, 25, and Tatiana Wielandt, 26, who each have three children under the age of 6 years old, fathered by members of the terrorist organization.


However, the ruling keeps the door open for the repatriation of their children, which the two mothers said they would consent to, The Washington Post reported.

The government will try to "return children of [terrorists] younger than 10 years," Justice Minister Koen Geens said in a statement. "Children can never be blamed for the actions of their parents."

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The appeals court's decision overturns a December ruling ordering the country to repatriate the mothers and their children from a refugee camp in northern Syria at its own expense. Failing to do so within 40 days would incur $5,715 fines per child per day.

That ruling, while only applied to the two mothers, was feared to entice similar cases against the country, which has seen more than 400 adults leave Europe since 2013 to join organizations such as the Islamic State, a terrorist group that attacked the Flemish-speaking country several times, including a 2016 suicide bombing that killed 32 people and injured hundreds.


The Belgian court's ruling comes after the father of an Alabama woman who fled to Syria to join the Islamic State sued President Donald Trump to allow his daughter to return.

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The suit says that Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr are acting unconstitutionally by not allowing Hoda Muthana to return since she is a U.S. citizen.

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