German government ordered to allow Islamic State bride home
German courts have ordered Angela Merkel’s government must allow an Isil bride and her children home.
In the first ruling of its kind, a court ordered that the government must repatriate the woman from a refugee camp in Syria for the safety of her children.
The families of dozens of other German Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) volunteers are expected to seize on the ruling as they campaign for the return of their relatives.
Like the UK, Germany has so far refused to repatriate citizens who travelled to the Middle East to join Isil, fearing they could pose a security risk.
The woman in the new ruling, who has not been named, is currently living in the al-Hol refugee camp in Syria with her three children aged two, seven and eight. She is understood to be from the Lower Saxony region of Germany.
In an urgent hearing, the court found that conditions in the camp, recently described as “horrifying” by the International Red Cross, presented a serious danger to the children.
The case was brought by relatives who sued the German government to force it to arrange the children’s return.
The government argued it was under no obligation to allow the woman’s return because she joined Isil of her own volition.
The court made no ruling on her rights, but ruled her children were entitled to protection as German citizens and ordered the government to repatriate her because it was impossible for them to leave the camp without her.
Kurdish authorities in control of the refugee camp want European countries to take their citizens back and have ruled out allowing children to return alone.
“This is a fundamental decision in which the foreign ministry was clearly told that it cannot avoid political and legal responsibility,” Dirk Schoenian, a lawyer for the woman’s relatives said.
“Now we finally have a ruling from a German court that Germany is obliged to take back not only the children, but also their mother,” Claudia Dantschke of Hayat Deutschland, a counselling centre for the relatives of Isil volunteers, told the broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
The German foreign ministry said the ruling was “being examined” and a decision had not yet been made on whether to appeal.