A 31-year-old woman from the city of Landskrona has been sentenced to three years in prison for bringing her two-year-old son with her to Daesh* in Syria against the family's will.
Under the guise of going on holiday in Turkey, the woman reportedly took her two-year-old child to the so-called "caliphate", the Daesh-controlled part of Syria in 2014. Both the woman and her son remained there until the end of 2017, national broadcaster SVT reported.
According to Lund District Court, the crime should be considered serious as "the child was ripped out of his habitual environment and taken abroad to a country where at the time of abduction there was an armed conflict in order to remain there indefinitely with almost non-existent contact with the other guardian".
The woman, who herself denies the crime and believes that she was in an emergency situation, was also sentenced to pay SEK 60,000 ($7,000) in damages to the father.
According to the prosecutor, the woman went to join the terrorist group because she was a sympathiser. The woman herself claimed she became religious after a life crisis she suffered in connection with the death of a close relative. She also claimed she was unaware of what was happening in Syria and suggested that she merely wanted to go there for several days to see a "correct Muslim society".
The boy's father, who today has sole custody of the child, was not aware of the mother's actual plans.
Between 2018 and 2020, she stayed in the Kurdish-run prison camps al-Hol and al-Roj, yet managed to flee to Turkey with her now three children (two of them were born during her time in the "caliphate") and from there was deported to Sweden.
The woman is suspected of war crimes in a separate investigation, yet no charges have been brought so far.
At the time of Daesh's so-called "caliphate", about 300 Islamists left Sweden and joined forces with the jihadists in the Middle East, which is among the highest per capita in Europe. With about half having returned, Sweden has been notoriously slack at holding the returnees accountable for crimes committed. Due to the heavy burden of proof, charges of war crimes committed abroad are seldom pressed. Instead, Sweden has been relying on various programmes to deradicalise the former jihadists and their spouses with counselling and assistance.
* Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/“Islamic State”) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and other nations