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Iraq urges repatriation of children of ISIS fighters

Iraq has called for the home countries of foreign jihadists held in its jails to repatriate hundreds of children of the captured militants.

At least 833 children of 14 nationalities are currently in prison in Iraq, according to the Joint Operations Command, which coordinates the fight against the Islamic State group.

“We ask all diplomatic missions in Iraq, resident and non-resident, to take back their nationals who have served their sentences and children who are not convicted,” foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Mahjoub said on Tuesday, July 3.

“Iraq has informed all of the countries that have citizens in its prisons. We have already spoken with the embassies of Germany, Azerbaijan, Russia and other countries to take [their citizens] back.”

Iraqi law allows people to be convicted of helping the terrorist group even if they are not directly accused of violence during the years since Islamic State overran Iraq.

Under Iraqi law, children can face up to 15 years in prison for violent acts.

Dozens of foreign citizens suspected of having joined ISIS ranks are believed to be in detention in Iraq and neighboring Syria, including several children. Iraq has sentenced more than 300 people to death for joining ISIS, and more than 180 women have been sentenced to life in prison.

Foreign women from Azerbaijan, France, Germany, Russia and Turkey have been sentenced to life in prison or had their death sentences reduced.

All French citizens who have traveled to Iraq and Syria since January 2015 to participate in the fighting, or recruitment or organization of terrorist groups are deemed to be participants in criminal association, a French diplomatic source previously told The Defense Post.

However, ‘if the individuals concerned were to be tried by the Iraqi courts, then they could not be tried for the same offenses in France,” the source said.

A Russian diplomatic source in Moscow told AFP that there “are 70 Russian women on trial and there are about 100 children in Iraqi prisons.”

“We are trying to bring these children back to Russia after identifying them because almost all of them do not have identity papers,” the source said.

With reporting from AFP

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