'IS bride' Suhayra Aden repatriated to New Zealand

'IS bride' Suhayra Aden repatriated to New Zealand after being shunned by Australia
3 min read
22 August, 2021
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern refused to strip the former ISIS member and her two children of their citizenship, a move she argued would turn them into a greater danger to the public.
Aden travelled to Syria in 2014, where she allegedly joined IS and had three children from two of the group's fighters [Getty]

Former IS member Suhayra Aden and her two children arrived in New Zealand on Saturday, after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern refused to strip the woman of her citizenship and leave her stateless.

The 26-year-old, who was born in New Zealand and moved to Australia at age six, was a dual national of both countries until Canberra stripped her of citizenship last year.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said "terrorists who fought with terrorism organisations" forfeited the privilege of citizenship.

Ardern refused to take a similar stance and cancel her citizenship, leaving Aden and her two children stateless in Turkey, where they have been held by authorities since crossing the border from Syria.

"They are not Turkey's responsibility, and with Australia refusing to accept the family, that makes them ours," she said in July, when she announced that New Zealand would repatriate the family.

Aden was accompanied by police as she disembarked from the flight. The Prime Minister said authorities have "used every level we have" to make sure there is little risk to the public, according to Auckland’s daily, The New Zealand Herald.

"I would give the same reassurance that I have all the way through, that while we have obligations given that this individual we are talking about is a New Zealand citizen, and of course the status of their children, we have still undertaken all of the usual steps that you would expect us to keep New Zealanders safe. That has been an absolute priority,” Ardern said.

"Whilst there is some constraint on my ability to talk about the details of those, I can tell you that we have used every level we have to ensure people's safety."

Ardern objected to the suggestion she was asking New Zealanders to trust her without giving any details. She said trust was being asked of "not me, but our systems".

“We are using all of the levers that we have to make sure that we have done everything we can to keep people safe while at the same time fulfilling those obligations we have,” the Prime Minister said.

"The alternative would have been to say to Turkey that we don't take responsibility and they could have then deported that person without warning and without our preparation. That would have been wrong.”

"That would not have ensured the safety of New Zealanders."

Aden travelled to Syria in 2014, where she allegedly joined IS and had three children from two of the group's fighters.

Both her husbands, two Swedish fighters, are reportedly dead. One of her children has died of pneumonia in Syria.

According to a report by ABC News, Aden experienced second thoughts about travelling to Syria and unsuccessfully attempted to call her mother in order to return to Australia.