• Denmark's news in English
Danish woman who fought Isis loses in court
Joanna Palani. Photo: Asger Ladefoged/Scanpix

Danish woman who fought Isis loses in court

The Local · 5 Feb 2016, 08:35

Published: 05 Feb 2016 08:35 GMT+01:00

The Copenhagen City Court on Thursday ruled that Danish police were within their rights to confiscate the passport of a Danish-Kurdish women who fought against the terror group Isis in Iraq and Syria. 
Joanna Palani, a Danish citizen who came to the country as a three-year-old refugee, challenged the confiscation of her passport arguing that by fighting against Isis alongside Peshmerga forces, she was supporting Denmark’s interests. 
“How can I pose a threat to Denmark and other countries by being a soldier in an official army that Denmark trains and supports directly in the fight against the Islamic State?” she wrote on Facebook in October.
Palani, 22, has fought alongside the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, which are supported by Western nations including Denmark. She thus argued that she should not be punished under Denmark’s new so-called ‘foreign fighter’ rules that are meant to make it easier for authorities to stop Danes from joining terror groups. 
The Copenhagen City Court ruled against Palani, arguing that she has actively taken part in armed conflicts in Syria and Iraq, makes no secret about her desire to return to the battlefield and had been trained in military camps. 
Her lawyer, Thorkild Høyer, said he would appeal the decision to the Eastern High Court. 
“She has never been charged or convicted of anything in Denmark. In each and every interview she gives, she expresses her belief in Danish values and on top of that she is supporting a cause that we have gone to war for via the [international] alliance [fighting Isis],” he told Politiken. 
Høyer argued that the court has misunderstood the point of the ‘foreign fighter’ law. 
“The law is aimed at those who join Isis. In the preparations for the legislation and in the public debate, it was made clear that that is who this was supposed to be about. She joined official forces that are allied with Danish soldiers,” he said. 
Before leaving Denmark, Palani acknowledged that she was running a legal risk. 
“I fear that if I go down there, if someone goes down there, and comes back – after fighting for the rights of the Kurds and for Kobane – I fear that the Danish authorities will come after them and it will have major consequences,” she said in a video interview with Politiken
Story continues below…
Still, she said that she felt the need to join the Peshmerga forces. 
“I as an individual can’t save the world – I’m not Superman. But I can contribute and if I know that something is very wrong and I know that I can make a small difference even for just one person, then I will do it,” she added. 
In addition to having her passport revoked, Palani also faces a one-year travel ban which took effect on September 29, 2015. 

For more news from Denmark, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
First service marks Battle of Jutland centenary
A memorial park to mark the world's largest naval battle that took place May 31, 1916 during World War will soon open in Denmark. Photo: Scanpix

Britain yesterday kicked off a week of commemorations marking one hundred years since the Battle of Jutland, the largest naval battle of World War I.

Border checks
First migrants make it from Denmark to Sweden on foot
The Øresund Bridge connects Copenhagen to Malmö. Photo: Colourbox

Dozens of attempts to cross the Øresund Bridge have been made, but this is the first successful crossing.

Seagulls 1, Aarhus 0
Aarhus's Hitchcockian nightmare will continue. Photo: Stefan W/Flickr

Officials in Denmark’s second city declared an all-out war on seagulls earlier this year. They lost.

Russia lashes out at ‘hostile’ Denmark
Russia's ambassador to Denmark, Mikhail Vanin. Photo: Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Kingdom of Denmark

Russia’s ambassador to Denmark accused the Danes of being “hostile” and “anti-Russian” in an interview published on Friday.

Danish MP cleared for 'bomb civilians' remark
Søren Espersen of the Danish People's Party. File photo: Keld Navntoft/Scanpix

Copenhagen Police have dropped proceedings against Danish People’s Party (DF) spokesperson Søren Espersen after he said that Denmark “should start” bombing civilians in Syria.

Denmark's biggest IPO to be windfall for Goldman Sachs
Dong's expected market value is up to 106.5 billion kroner. Photo: Claus Fisker/Scanpix

The Danish wind farm group Dong Energy is valued at up to $16 billion, leading to renewed debate about its partial sale to the US investment bank.

Aarhus blocks plans for grand mosque
Aarhus will not get a new mosque after all. Photo: Guillaume Baviere/Flickr

The sale of a plot of land for the construction of a grand mosque has been cancelled by Aarhus Municipality.

Denmark's waters are cleaner than ever
Danish beaches are cleaner than ever. Photo: Old Dane/ Wikipedia

Jump on in, the water's fine! In fact, it's cleaner than it's ever been.

Syrian refugees sue Denmark over long family wait time
File photo of the refugee tent camp in Thisted. Photo: Sara Gangsted/Scanpix

A group of five Syrians are suing Denmark and Immigration Minister Inger Støjberg over the three-year waiting period for family reunification imposed on refugees.

Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
Green card holder Mehvish Kiran said that her four children would not be able to adjust to life in Pakistan. Photo: Submitted

Thousands of green card holders are desperately trying convince politicians not to force them out of Denmark and say that a recently-granted extension to the scheme is a hollow victory.

Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
The second best destination in all of Europe is...
We are the champions! Denmark wins world badminton team title
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
Strangest political story in Denmark just got stranger
Keeping Denmark in Europol 'maybe impossible'
Analysis & Opinion
Green card holders tell Denmark to keep its promise
Denmark picks F-35 in historic jet purchase
Denmark to no longer define transgender as mental illness
Danish minister tells 'Sharia' troublemakers to 'get a job'
Danish 'martyr' exhibit reported to police
Denmark extends 'temporary' border measures for sixth time
Denmark nears final decision on controversial fighter jets
Muslim ‘girls only’ swimming sessions ripple Danish waters
Could Danes face a 'red meat tax' to help climate?
Denmark unable to process or issue visas
Denmark to go to war against Isis in Syria
Denmark to go to war against Isis in Syria
Business & Money
How Denmark’s national bank card is about to change
The best Danish bands you've (maybe) never heard of
Danes leaving the church in droves
Atheist campaign gets Danes to leave the church in droves
Four Isis ‘recruits’ arrested in Copenhagen
Four Isis ‘recruits’ arrested in Copenhagen
Business & Money
Unwrapping Denmark's first zero-packaging food store
jobs available