Friday, January 6, 2023

Former "Islamic State bride" appears in court in Australia

Former 'Islamic State bride' faces Australian court

 SYDNEY: On Friday, charges related to her former husband's involvement in the Islamic State group were brought against an Australian woman who was rescued from a filthy Syrian detention camp.

As part of a humanitarian effort to free Australian women and children from the infamous Al-Hol and Roj camps, Mariam Raad was repatriated in October.

Most of the time, the women were the wives of defeated ISIS fighters who claimed they were tricked or forced to travel to Syria with their husbands.

Raad was taken into custody on Thursday by Australian police, who claim that the 31-year-old was aware that her former husband, Muhammad Zahab, was a prominent ISIS recruiter and that she had "willingly traveled to the conflict region."

Raad faces up to ten years in prison if found guilty of traveling to areas of Syria controlled by ISIS, which is a crime under Australian law.

After a brief hearing on Friday morning, she was granted bail and will appear in court again in March.

Her conditions for bail were to give up her passport and not watch "propaganda" for any "terrorist organization."

Mark Walton, the counterterrorism commander, stated, "We have zero tolerance for Australians, or anyone who seeks to commit acts of violence or extremism, and those who consider doing the wrong thing will come under our notice."

According to the Australian Federal Police, an airstrike was believed to have killed Zahab, a former Sydney math teacher.

Raad, along with three other women and 13 children, returned to Australia.

It was the first of a planned series of missions to free about 20 Australian women and 40 children who had been held captive in Kurdish-controlled northeastern Syria since the fall of the ISIS "caliphate" in 2019.

In Australia, some politicians have claimed that the so-called "ISIS brides" pose a threat to national security, so the repatriation of the women has been controversial.

Human Rights Watch, for example, has commended the government for rescuing Australians from "horrific" circumstances.

Raad moved to Young, a small town 370 kilometers (229 miles) west of Sydney, after being repatriated.

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