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2019-02-12

Tajikistan seeks repatriation of 75 children from Iraq

AFP

DUSHANBE -- Tajik Foreign Minister Sirodjidin Mukhriddin Tuesday (February 12) said he hoped Iraq will return at least 75 children after their mothers, jailed over links to "Islamic State" (IS), agreed to their repatriation.

Of the 92 children from Tajikistan stranded in Iraq, 75 should be eligible for repatriation, including 31 younger than three, according to Mukhriddin.

In most cases, the children had lost their fathers, who died fighting for the IS and other militant groups, said Mukhriddin.

Iraqi law requires parents to approve their children's departure from Iraq, he said.

Tajikistan will have to pay $400 (3,700 TJS) to repatriate each child, he said, a fee determined after diplomatic negotiations with Iraq.

Repatriating the 43 women serving time in Iraqi jails would be an uphill battle, he said.

"Iraqi judges sentenced a number of Tajik female citizens to death, and some others to life in prison," he said, according to Avesta.tj. The repatriation process "will be long and hard".

Tajik diplomats will be heading to Iraq's neighbour Syria soon to discuss the same issue -- repatriation of detained Tajiks -- with Syrian government officials, including prison authorities, he said.

Tajik authorities have said more than 1,000 citizens left the country to fight for militant groups in Iraq and Syria after 2011, some after stints as migrant workers in Russia.

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