Son of ISIS fighter given Irish passport back following legal challenge
Eight-year-old Abdul Malik Bekmirzaev was brought to Syria by his parents as an infant in 2014
The eight-year-old son of a suspected ISIS fighter has won his Irish passport back after authorities effectively stripped him of his citizenship.
Abdul Malik Bekmirzaev, who was born in Ireland, is currently living in Belarus with his mother after being deported there from Turkey in January 2020.
The High Court in Dublin has now ruled his full citizenship rights be restored following a lengthy legal battle, reports The Sunday Times.
Abdul had been brought to Syria by his parents as an infant in 2014, but was later held in Kurdish prison camps before being detained in Turkey.
During this detention, Abdul's Irish passport was confiscated by Turkish authorities, prompting a new passport application for the boy.
But last September, the Irish state informed the boy’s lawyers that it would not issue him with new travel documents and did not recognise him as an Irish citizen.
Authorities claimed his Abdul's father Alexandr Bekmirzaev had his Irish naturalisation certificate revoked as his previous marriage to a British citizen was a "sham".
The boy was therefore effectively stripped of his Irish citizenship because it was based on his father’s prior naturalisation.
Alexandr Bekmirzaev, a convert to Islam, is a suspected ISIS fighter and travelled to Syria in 2013. The family were reunited in 2014 and lived there until the fall of the so-called caliphate in 2018.
Mr Bekmirzaev was previously held at a Syrian Democratic Forces prison for ISIS fighters in eastern Syria. It is not known whether he is still alive.
Wendy Lyon, a solicitor who represented the boy, said the case raises "troubling questions" about the conduct of Irish authorities.
“This is an Irish citizen who was left stranded in Europe’s last dictatorship. While we’re happy his Irish citizenship has been recognised and a passport issued to him, Abdul Malik’s case presents us with a series of troubling questions," she said.
"Why was this allowed to happen to an Irish citizen? And how many other children might be in the same situation because the government is not looking out for them?”
Updated: April 12, 2021 08:54 AM