The court of appeal in Brussels has overturned an earlier court decision which ordered the government to accept the return of the widows and children of two men who left Belgium with their families to go and fight in Syria.
The men were killed fighting, and the families applied to return to Belgium. Widows Tatiana Wielandt and Bouchra Abouallal and their six children were turned down, and the decision upheld by the court of appeal in September 2017.
They applied again and obtained an interim ruling in their favour in December. However that was appealed by the government, and the appeal upheld. The court ruled that the application in this instance was identical to the application which was ultimately rejected by the court of appeal.
The two families are now living in the Al-Hol Kurdish refugee camp. The latest decision does not mean the end of minor children being brought back to Belgium, justice minister Koen Geens said. “The Belgian government will continue to work in line with the decision of December 2017 to bring children under the age of ten back to Belgium. Children must not be punished for the deeds of their parents,” he said.
The two women, Abouallal and her sister-in-law Wielandt, left Belgium in 2013 with their husbands Noureddine Abouallal and Said El Mourabit. The men were killed in 2014 while their wives were pregnant. The women then travelled back to Belgium so their children could be born here, before leaving again months later and returning to Syria, where they married again,