Jihadi Women Who Fled Austria to Join ISIS and Married Terrorists Face 15 Years in Prison If They Return

Jihadi Women Who Fled Austria to Join ISIS and Married Terrorists Face 15 Years in Prison If They Return
Samra Kesinovic and Sabina Selimovic in file photos. The Austrian women were 16 and 16, respectively, when they fled the country to join ISIS in Syria in 2014. (Interpol)

Two jihadi women who fled Austria to join the ISIS terrorist group would face up to 15 years in prison if they return to the European country, an expert said.

The case of the girls is the latest involving Western women who leave their home countries or countries of residence in the West to travel to the Middle East to join the radical Islamist organization.

Samra Kesinovic was 16 when she left Vienna with Sabina Selimovic, 15, to join ISIS in April 2014.

The girls later married ISIS fighters and had children with them. Each featured in propaganda for the terrorist organization, including posing in garb while holding guns.

Under the strict rules guiding women’s lifestyles, after joining ISIS the women either wore clothes covering every part of their body, including their hair, except for their faces; or clothes so restrictive that only their eyes could be seen.

The pair were reportedly killed in November 2018 but recent Austrian media reports citing intelligence officials indicate that they’re actually alive.

Based on speculation that the women could re-enter Austria, an expert said the terrorists would face up to 15 years in prison if they did.

Moussa Al-Hassan Diaw of DERAD, a group in Austria committed to deradicalizing terrorists, told the Daily Mail the sentences would depend on which charges prosecutors brought against the so-called ISIS brides. Charges could include spreading terrorist propaganda to murder, and prosecutors could use the women’s appearance on ISIS websites to help support the charges.

Their children would also be taken into custody if the girls returned to the country, possibly being given to relatives of the women if authorities found the relatives didn’t have extremist Islamist links or sympathies.

isis islamic state terrorist militants
An ISIS flag hangs from an electricity pole on March 3, 2016. (Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images)

Diaw said that authorities would interrogate the women to see their current views, noting that many ISIS members who returned to the West still believed in the jihadi cause.

According to Oesterreich, an Austrian newspaper, both women are still alive. The paper cited sources within the country’s intelligence agency BVT. Government workers at the Austrian Foreign Ministry reportedly want to help the women and their children re-enter the country but Interior Minister Herbert Kickle is opposed.

According to the paper, the women are likely near Idlib near the Syrian-Kurdish border with their children and want to return to Austria.

A slew of wives and children of ISIS fighters are holed up in refugee camps as the United States and allies decimated the terror group in Syria, forcing fighters to flee if they didn’t die during the fighting.

The girls left a note when they fled Austria, telling them: “Don’t look for us. We will serve Allah—and we will die for him.”

At the time, a spokesperson for the Austrian Interior Ministry told Osterreich that the women couldn’t return to Austria. “The main problem is about people coming back to Austria. Once they leave, this is almost impossible,” the spokesman said.

Shamima Begum interviewed by Sky News
Shamima Begum being interviewed by Sky News in northern Syria on Feb. 17, 2019. (Reuters)

ISIS Bride’s Jihadi Husband Insists It Was Her Choice

ISIS bride Shamima Begum’s jihadi husband has surfaced in Syrian captivity and told reporters it was Begum’s “own choice” to marry him when she was just 15.

Yago Riedijk, 27, was interviewed in a Kurdish-run detention center in northern Syria by BBC Middle East correspondent Quentin Sommerville.

The journalist asked the ISIS extremist, “You were married to her when she was 15 years old; how in any way is that acceptable? You were, what, 23?”

Riedijk replied, “To be honest, when my friend came and said there was a girl who was interested in marriage, I wasn’t that interested because of her age, but I accepted the offer anyway.

“We sat down and she seemed in a good state of mind. It was her own choice, she was the one who asked to look for a partner for her. Then, I was invited and yeah, she was very young and it might have been better for her to wait a bit. But she didn’t, she chose to get married and I chose to marry her,” Riedijik continued.

Begum, who said she wants to return to the UK, has been stripped of her British citizenship. She has been moved to a different refugee camp in Syria following alleged death threats.

Her British-based lawyer, Tasnime Akunjee, told The Sun that she had left the camp “due to safety concerns around her and her baby.”

Riedijk, who surrendered to Syrian fighters and ended up in a detention center, faces a six-year jail term for joining a terror organization if he returns to the Netherlands. The jihadi was convicted in the summer of 2018 in absentia, according to the Evening Standard.

His Dutch citizenship hasn’t been revoked and he told the BBC he would like to return to the Netherlands with Begum and their newborn son.

The Epoch Times reporter Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.

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