Mother of ISIS child soldier jailed in Sweden for war crimes

Lina Ishaq failed to stop her son from being recruited and used as a fighter by ISIS

ISIS militants were driven out of their Raqqa stronghold in Syria in 2017. AP

A Swedish woman has been jailed for six years for war crimes for failing to prevent her 12-year-old son from becoming an ISIS child soldier.

Lina Ishaq’s son died during the civil war in Syria in 2017 when he was 15, a Stockholm court was told.

"She, in her capacity as protection guarantor, omitted to prevent her son Joan, 12-15 years, from being recruited by unknown accomplices and used as child soldier on behalf of ISIS in the armed conflict in Syria," the court said in its verdict.

The court said she was guilty of a “grave violation of international law” and a “grave war crime”.

Ishaq and her husband had been part of a "cult-like" Islamist environment and in April 2013 she took her son to join his father and an older son in Syria.

The court said she must have known her son was going to be used as a child soldier and failed to take steps to prevent it.

Ishaq, 49, a Swede, is the first person known to have been charged in Sweden with aiding the recruitment of her own son as a child soldier. She returned to Sweden in 2020.

Recruiting and using children under the age of 15 as soldiers is prohibited under international humanitarian law and recognised as a war crime by the International Criminal Court.

About 300 Swedes or Swedish residents, a quarter of them women, joined ISIS in Syria and Iraq, mostly in 2013 and 2014, according to the Sapo intelligence service.

Updated: March 04, 2022, 1:05 PM