LONDON: The grieving families of British “Daesh wives” have been treated as suspects and criminals by police, The Observer reported.
Several family members of girls and young women who had traveled to join Daesh said they were “treated like criminals” and used as sources of intelligence by the authorities.
One person said his home was searched and raided after informing police of his daughter’s decision to join Daesh in Syria.
The revelations came during a parliamentary session last week. Media were barred from reporting on the session due to harassment concerns, but separately four of the families later told The Observer about their experiences.
They warned that their daughters were “stranded” in Syrian refugee camps.
A woman said her sister had visited Syria. However, after informing and cooperating with the police, she learned that the officers did not want to find her brother or sister.
âWe thought the police were there to help us. Over time we could see the police and the authorities did not talk to us to help us, only to get information. Once they got their information, they washed their hands of us, âshe said.
âWe were never offered support. I felt I had to prove to them that I was anti-extremist. I felt I was still a suspect.
Another said: âI was questioned as if I was a suspect, and once they decided I wasn’t, they really didn’t want anything to do with me anymore. It has become really difficult to contact them.
Many families have warned that the UK government has abandoned the presumption of innocence in relation to their children.
One said: âNormally, western governments talk about human rights and trafficking. However, when it was my family who were abused and trafficked, they even decided not to investigate their cases. They are considered guilty simply because they are in Syria.
âWomen and children are punished without trial. I don’t know why Britain decided to abandon its principles in the case of my family.
Another family member said: âI really felt betrayed. I have now lost faith in the people who are supposed to help and protect us. We no longer have our rights.
The claims follow a report by legal charity Reprieve which found that many Daesh wives had initially traveled to the war-torn country due to coercion and trafficking.
Once there, the report warned, exploitation, forced marriages and rapes were rife in Daesh territory.
There are now around 20 British families stranded in former ISIS territories in Syria, but the UK Home Office has repeatedly denied the repatriation of the women and children.
Andrew Mitchell, former international development secretary and chair of the all-party parliamentary group that heard the testimony, said: âIf the government listened only to these families, it would surely realize the inhumanity and sheer error of abandon British citizens in custody in the desert. encampments.
âThis terrible policy affects ordinary law-abiding families and unraveled the fabric of our multicultural society. Whether from a security or moral point of view, the case for repatriation could not be clearer.
Former Foreign Minister Baroness Warsi said: “Many of us in Parliament are very concerned about what is happening here, especially in relation to the precedent it sets.”
Maya Foa, director of Reprieve, said families in the camps were “stripped of all their rights, presumed guilty without trial, subjected to violence and abandoned by the government”.
Foa warned the government “appeared to be looking to inflict as much damage as possible on this group – which is mostly made up of British children – to make some sort of political point.”
A family member heard during the session said: âAll I want to ask the government is; you had every chance to protect her and you failed, how can you now wash your hands of her? “