Dutch prosecutor appeals against lenient sentences of jihadi brides who fled the Netherlands to join ISIS

By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

The Dutch public prosecutor’s office (OM) has appealed against the sentences handed down last week by a Dutch court to five former ISIS brides who were repatriated to the Netherlands in February 2022.

The convicted terrorists were handed prison sentences between 16 months and three years after being found guilty of membership in a proscribed terrorist organization, namely the Islamic State, and for participating in the preparation of acts of terrorism.

The women each fled the Netherlands separately back in 2013 to join the Islamic State in Syria at the peak of its power. They married Islamic State fighters and lived in the caliphate for six years before being apprehended by Kurdish forces in 2019 and detained at the al-Roj Kurdish refugee camp in northern Syria.

Four of the women received prison sentences of between 30 and 36 months, of which 12 to 15 months were suspended, while a fifth woman was ordered to serve 16 months in prison, nine of which were also suspended.

The sentences were considerably less than the 42 to 48 months called for by the OM, with the court claiming to have taken into consideration the squalid conditions the women had lived in during their time in Syria.

The OM had previously stated that their sentences should be longer due to the length of time they had remained affiliated with the Islamic State; it claimed that all five women had made “an important contribution to the realization and maintenance of the caliphate.”

Additional aggravating factors used by the OM to justify their position include the fact that two suspects are understood to have taken their children to the conflict zone, and another traveled while she was knowingly pregnant. One woman’s decision to travel ultimately led to the death of her 16-year-old son.

The court ruled on all five cases on April 13; however, an appeal hearing may now be scheduled to determine whether the sentences imposed were proportionate to the severity of the offenses.

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