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Tajikistan seeks repatriation of 75 children from Iraq
February 13, 2019
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DUSHANBE: Tajikistan’s foreign minister said on Tuesday he hoped Iraq will return at least 75 children after their mothers, jailed over links to the Daesh group, agreed to their repatriation.

Sirodjidin Mukhriddin said that of 92 children from Tajikistan stranded in Iraq, 75 should be eligible for repatriation, 31 of whom are aged under three.

Mukhriddin said that in most cases, the children had lost their fathers, who died fighting for the Daesh and other militant groups.

Iraqi legislation demands that parents consent to their children leaving the country, he said.

Tajikistan will have to pay $400 to repatriate each child, he said, a fee determined after diplomatic negotiations with Iraq.

But Mukhriddin said repatriating the 43 women serving time in Iraqi jails would be an uphill battle.

“Iraqi judges sentenced a number of female citizens of Tajikistan to long sentences, some even to life sentences,” he said. The repatriation process “will be long and hard.” Tajik diplomats will be heading to Iraq’s neighbour Syria “in the near future” to discuss the issue with government officials including prison authorities, he said.

Russia said Sunday that it had repatriated 27 children whose mothers were held in Iraq for belonging to the Daesh group. Thirty had already been repatriated in December.

Daesh seized large swathes of Iraq in a lightning 2014 offensive, before the Iraqi government dislodged the extremists from urban centres and eventually declared victory in December 2017.

Agence France-Presse
 

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