Iraq urges world countries to repatriate Islamic State children

Displaced children who fled the clashes queue to receive aid from Iraqi security forces in Antesaar neighborhood of Mosul, Iraq, January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

Baghdad ( Iraq has urged world countries to repatriate  اhundreds of children of their nationals who had joined Islamic State militants.

“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,” said foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Mahjoub was quoted by AFP saying in press statements.

The agency quoted a source at the Iraqi Joint Operations Command saying that authorities currently hold 833 children of foreign Islamic State members.

“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,” Mahjoub said, according to the agency.

Iraq has issued death and life sentences against several foreigners for affiliation with the Islamic State since the government declared late 2017 it had seized back territories occupied by the extremist group since 2014. The government had said it would deport those not involved in criminal activity.

Iraqi law applies penalties to children as old as 9, according to rights groups, with penalties reaching up to 15 years.

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