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Danish supreme court overturns decision to revoke citizenship from woman who supported ISIS

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Danish supreme court overturns decision to revoke citizenship from woman who supported ISIS
Denmark's supreme court has overturned an immigration ministry to revoke the citizenship of a dual national who travelled to Syria in support of Isis in 2015. File photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish supreme court, Højesteret, has overruled a 2020 decision to revoke the citizenship of a Danish-Iranian woman who travelled to Syria in support of the Islamic State (Isis) terror group.

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The Ministry for Immigration and Integration failed to take into account a requirement to apply “proportionality” when it revoked the woman’s citizenship in 2020, the Supreme Court said in the ruling on Wednesday.

The Ministry is only allowed to revoke Danish citizenship from a person if they do not become stateless as a result.

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The women was born in Denmark and received Danish citizenship at birth along with Iranian citizenship, through her father.

But because she “has not resided in Iran or spent time in Iran for an extended period, and neither has contact with relatives in Iran, and does not speak Farsi”, her degree of connection to Iran was deemed to be weak, the court wrote.

She travelled to Syria in 2015 at the age of 20 to join Isis, news wire Ritzau reports. In Syria, she stayed in an Isis-controlled area and married a man who was a member of the group, with whom she had children.

She was captured in March 2019 and placed in the Kurdish-controlled prison camp al-Hol, before later being moved to another camp, al-Roj.

She did not deny joining Isis and that she could have her Danish citizenship withdrawn on this basis, but argued that decision was not in line with the “proportionality” principle under Danish law, relating to statelessness and her connection with a third country.

A similar case earlier this week saw Copenhagen City Court uphold the immigration ministry’s decision to revoke the citizenship of twin sisters of Somali heritage.

The sisters, who were born in Denmark but grew up in the UK and do not speak Danish, travelled to Syria to join Isis in 2014.

Following Wednesday’s Supreme Court decision, the lawyer for the woman said her repatriation from the al-Roj camp was an urgent matter.

“It [should not be done] tomorrow. It must be now. The next flight home must be found immediately – on [flight search engine] Momondo if necessary,” the lawyer, Knud Foldschack, told Ritzau.

Human rights organisations have in the past expressed concerns over the conditions at the prison camps and Denmark has faced criticism for not evacuating children there who have connections to Denmark.

Government policy does not evacuate children from the two camps without their mothers and will not evacuate mothers if their Danish citizenship has been revoked.

The woman's two children, who live with her in the al-Roj camp, are six and four years old.

She is now expected to be prosecuted by Denmark on her return to the country, Foldschack said.

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