The widows of three Islamic State combatants killed in the field have been sentenced to five years in prison and will lose their Belgian nationality on release, a court in Brussels has ruled.
All of the women were tried in absentia. Two are currently being held in a prison camp run by Kurdish opponents of IS. The third, the 26-year-old widow of a leading figure in Sharia4Belgium, is reported to be on her way to Belgium with her children. On her return she will be taken into custody given the risk of flight, but like the others if they ever set foot on Belgian soil, she will have to be tried again.
The three women left Belgium for Syria in 2013. Hafsa M., now aged 27, left with her husband and their young child. Her husband was killed in fighting, and she remarried another Sharia4Belgium member, Youssef Khaldi. She had originally intended to join in the fighting, she said during phone calls which were subject to a wire-tap, but she had never had the chance, and spent her time housekeeping.
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Ilhame H. was also married to a member of Sharia4Belgium, Brahim El Mimouni, and they left Belgium for Iraq to join another Islamist group before moving on to IS in Syria.
Nora M. left Belgium later in the year, though her family only reported her departure three months later. She remained in Baghouz in Syria until IS was overthrown, and she was taken prisoner while he died defending the IS stronghold. She was taken prisoner and kept in the Kurdish prison camp until she managed to escape.
The Brussels Times