British jihadis could use human rights laws to return to UK to reunite with abandoned kids, ministers warned


MINISTERS have been warned that dozens of British jihadis in Syria could force their way back into Britain because their children have been repatriated.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced six weeks ago that infants abandoned by their ISIS fighter parents would be brought back to the UK.

Dominic Raab pledged six weeks ago to return British kids abandoned in Syria by their IS fighter parents

HOAR can reveal that government lawyers privately flagged up the risk that the move could trigger a slew of fresh claims under human rights laws.

The jihadis could exploit their childrens mercy lifts out of the war zone by claiming their right to family reunion to successfully overturn any ban on their return.

But the decision was taken by Mr Raab despite the legal warnings as well as fierce opposition from the Home Secretary, HOAR has also learned.

Priti Patel argued against the rescues because of the danger their parents could cause – and was backed by Chancellor Sajid Javid and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace – but she was overruled.

In addition, HOAR can also reveal that the Foreign Office and Crown Prosecution Service is looking afresh at bringing back as many as 50 captured British jihadis to stand trial.

It is estimated that prosecutions could be brought against up to a third of the roughly 150 fighters locked up in camps in Kurdistan, who were taken prisoner when Islamic State was defeated.


A fresh review of their status has been launched under heavy pressure from the US, who want the UK government to start taking action over the detainees now that the election is over.

So far, only three children have been brought back, but as many as 60 more could follow.

Announcing the mission in November, Mr Raab said only orphans and unaccompanied minors would be brought back to Britain as he dubbed it the right thing to do.

He added: These innocent children should never have been subjected to the horrors of war.

Responding to the revelations, Commons Foreign Affairs committee chairman Tom Tugendhat repeated his call for legal reforms as the current law is not up to scratch.

Mr Tugendhat said: They are British, they were radicalised here, they are our problem, but we must look very hard at bringing in legislation to toughen up the law first.

Courts must be able to convict people who have betrayed the country and then lock them up for a long time. That means updating the treason act.

At least 900 British citizens in total fled to join up with Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

One in five of those were killed on the battlefield or in coalition air strikes, and 400 have already returned home.

It was thought that only around 350 were still unaccounted for, but the most recent a secret assessment by intelligence agencies has discovered that number has close to doubled to more than 600

with their wives and offspring counted.

Ministers refused to discuss their legal advice.

A Home Office spokesman said: The Governments priority is the safety and security of the UK and the people who live here.

Those who have fought for or supported Daesh should wherever possible face justice for their crimes in the most appropriate jurisdiction, which will often be in the region where their offences have been committed.

Priti Patel and Sajid Javid higlighted the danger of the move but Dominic Raab went ahead
Priti Patel and Sajid Javid highlighted the danger of the move but Dominic Raab went ahead

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