Stripping ISIS supporter of Dutch citizenship contravened human rights: Council of State


A decision to revoke the Dutch citizenship of a woman who spent five years in an ISIS controlled area of Syria has been overturned by the Council of State because it contravenes her right to family life.

Fatima H was stripped of her Dutch citizenship in 2019 by then justice junior minister Ankie Broekers-Knol because, the minister said, she posed a danger to national security. The Council of State’s ruling did not dispute this but said Broekers-Knol had not sufficiently weighed the interests of H and her small children when she made the decision.

To continue to deprive her of her citizenship goes against her right to a family life as set out in the European Convention on Human Rights, the Council said.

Fatima H, who is currently serving a four-year prison sentence, went to Syria in 2013 where she married a jihadist fighter with whom she had two children, now aged five and seven. The children have lived in the Netherlands since her return to the country in 2019 and are Dutch nationals.

According to the Dutch security services, H posed with an automatic rifle and spread terrorist propaganda online during her time in the Islamic State held area. She was taken to a Kurdish camp in spring 2019 and in October Broekers-Knol declared her ‘undesirable’ which automatically stripped her of her citizenship.

H subsequently went to the Dutch embassy in Turkey and was given documentation which allowed her to travel to the Netherlands shortly after. In 2021 she was sentenced to four years in jail for terrorism offences.

The Justice ministry has not commented on the ruling so far.

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