Five Dutch women who travelled to Syria to join the IS-led caliphate have been sentenced to prison terms of between three years and 16 months by judges in Rotterdam, although much of the jail time has been suspended.
One of the five, Naime E from Zoetermeer, was found not guilty of being a member of IS but was jailed for taking her teenage son to the region, where he died on the battlefield. E, who at 54 is the oldest Dutch jihadist, was jailed for 16 months, nine suspended, for ‘placing her child in a hopeless position by traveling with him to a war zone.’
The sentences are lower than the 3.5 to four years in jail which the public prosecution department had demanded. ‘The role of these women was more limited than those of Dutch IS women who appeared in court earlier,’ the court said.
‘In addition, they and their children have spent four years in a Syrian detention camp, where the living conditions are miserable.’
The women have also all distanced themselves from IS ideology, the court said.
The five women left separately to join IS from 2013, mainly by marrying a Dutch IS combatant. They, and their 11 children, were removed from a camp in northern Syria in order to face trial early in February 2022.
Twelve other women with 28 children between them have also been brought back and face a separate legal process.
According to broadcaster NOS, the women’s stories have many similarities. All had troubled backgrounds and were dealing with alcoholic parents, domestic violence or suicidal thoughts. All went to Syria in search of a better life but found the reality to be very different.
Some 300 Dutch nationals are known to have joined up with IS since 2013, of whom around 100 are dead. Around 90 adults and 80 children have returned to the Netherlands. The rest remain in Syria or have gone to Turkey.
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