A four-year-old child who was taken from her home in Brussels by her father and later held by a jihadist group in Syria has been returned to her mother. Yasmine was abducted by her father — who was divorced from her mother and had remarried — in May last year from her home in Saint-Josse in Brussels. He took her with his new wife and child to Syria, where he intended to fight with the Firqatul Ghuraba jihadist force linked to Al Qaeda. He was killed in the fighting, and Yasmine left in the care of the group.
With the backing of the Belgian foreign affairs ministry, the child’s mother fought for Yasmine’s return, and was backed by a local Sharia court. However the militia refused to budge, arguing the mother was not a good Muslim, until a second court upheld the first judgement, and ordered Yasmine to be reunited with her mother.
The two were brought together on Monday on the Syria-Turkey border. Although the militia had demanded a ransom, originally €50,000 going down to €20,000, in the end Yasmine was delivered without any money changing hands.
The two arrived in Brussels yesterday afternoon, when the prosecutor’s office stepped in. “As provided for by law, the prosecutor’s office acts in the interests of the child,” a spokesperson said. “In the first instance we will examine the physical and mental health situation of the four-year-old girl. The necessary measures for this will be taken immediately.”
The exact nature of those measures has not been revealed, but the prosecutor’s office assured the family that mother and daughter would no longer be separated.