‘Isis Bride’ Granted Permission To Return To New Zealand
The New Zealand government has agreed to allow the return of a woman who allegedly left the country to join Isis, after Australia cancelled her citizenship.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that Suhayra Aden, 26, and her two children would be allowed a ‘managed’ return to the country, but promised the government had ‘the safety considerations of New Zealanders as our highest priority.’
Aden was reportedly captured on the Turkish border earlier this year after having spent time in Syria with the terrorist organisation as a so-called Isis bride. She’s believed to have travelled to Syria from Australia, where she grew up, in 2014.
Ardern revealed that Aden was set to be deported by Turkey after the country dropped charges against her, saying New Zealand ‘had a choice’ over whether to be forced to repatriate her unexpectedly or to choose to plan for her to return.
‘I can give absolute assurances that we have used all of the tools available to us to ensure the safety of New Zealanders on this return,’ Ardern said in a press conference on Monday, July 26.
Aden’s case has caused controversy in recent months after Australia, of which she is a dual citizen, unilaterally revoked her citizenship to prevent her from returning. Ardern told journalists of her ‘frustration’ with that decision, saying that the bride should ultimately have been ‘Australia’s responsibility.’
‘However,’ she continued, ‘New Zealand does not arbitrarily cancel citizenship and leave people stateless.’
According to Stuff NZ, the exact details and timing of Aden’s return will not be made public, with local organisations and the government urging the public and the media to respect the privacy of her two children.
In a statement, the New Zealand Children’s Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft said:
These children have had an incredibly hard start to life and have been living in conditions unimaginable to most New Zealanders.
They have the right to a full, free life, including a safe home and an education, as much as any other Australian or New Zealand child does. I believe it is the responsibility of all of us to make sure they do.
Aden’s two husbands and a third child are understood to have died in Syria.
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