Swedish authorities have arrested two women from Sweden who are suspected of having committed war crimes in Syria
STOCKHOLM – Swedish authorities arrested two women from Sweden who are suspected of having committed war crimes in Syria, the prosecutor’s office and local media said on Tuesday, the first arrests in the Scandinavian country.
According to a statement from the prosecutor’s office, three women from the territories that were once controlled by the Islamic State group arrived at Stockholm airport on Monday. Two were arrested while a third, who is not considered a suspect, was released after questioning.
Prosecutors Hanna Lemoine and Karolina Wieslander, responsible for the two cases, told the Swedish news agency TT that the two arrested will be questioned further before the prosecution decides whether to formally prosecute them.
The Swedish broadcaster SVT said that one of the two women is also suspected of genocide and crimes against humanity.
TT said that the Kurdish regional government in northeastern Syria – where the Islamic State group had established its high-quality caliphate before the collapse in 2017 – decided in June to deport the women, who had all been part of IS and are Swedish citizens.
– We can or do not have the resources to bring them to justice, says Shiyar Ali, the Kurdish representative in the Nordic countries, to TT. “Just the fact that they have been part of a terrorist organization is frightening, given what IS has done.”
Sweden’s Foreign Minister Anne Linde told TT on Monday that Sweden, unlike other countries, had not on its own initiative taken back Swedish citizens who were part of IS in Syria.
“We have not repatriated the women,” Linde told TT. “It is a different matter when the Kurdish self-government decides to expel the women. Then we have a responsibility just like everyone else to receive our citizens. “
In March, a woman was sentenced to three years in prison in Sweden for taking her 2-year-old son to Syria in 2014, to an area that was then controlled by IS. The woman would have told the child’s father that she and the boy would only go on holiday to Turkey. But once in Turkey, the two entered Syria and IS-controlled territory.
The woman later managed to escape to Turkey, where she was arrested with her son and two other children she had given birth to while living with an IS fighter from Tunisia. She was extradited from Turkey to Sweden.
In neighboring Norway, a 30-year-old Norwegian woman who was repatriated by Norway from a refugee camp in Syria because her son was ill, was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison by an Oslo court for participating in the Islamic State group. .