Local family repatriated from Syria remanded in custody for 30 days

Al-Hawl refugee camp in Nothern Syria. Maldivians are take shelter at this camp as well.

Criminal Court, on Sunday, has remanded the local family repatriated from Syria in custody for 30 days.

The local family repatriated to Maldives on Friday consists of a 33-year-old Maldivian woman and four of her children who are below the age of 18.

The woman who is from HDh. Kulhudhuffushi had previously resided at Idlib, Syria. In making a statement at court, the woman detailed that the family evacuated to Turkey from the war-torn area, following which they had come back to Maldives.

She also expressed having no objections regarding the family remaining in custody.

Police have previously stated that the family is in an administrative custody, for the purpose of carrying out the requirements stipulated in the Anti-Terrorism Act, for persons returning to Maldives from areas of conflict. They detailed such requirements include carrying out a risk assessment and identifying whether criminal charges need to be filed against anyone.

Apart from this, Police said that DNA of two children from the family that was born outside of the Maldives has to be confirmed, to declare their parentage and nationality.

In a statement publicized by Home Ministry on Friday, announcing the repatriation of this family, the Ministry said that the President and different authorities have been receiving complaints from families of local men, their wives and children who had traveled to war-torn areas years ago, regarding such individuals living at refugee camps, with their lives at risk.

Noting addressing such issues to be an electoral pledge of President Ibrahim Mohamed Soih, Home Ministry stressed that the government, over the past years, has made many efforts in this endeavor.

In this regard, regulation on the birth registration of children born to Maldivians in conflict zones came into force in January.

The regulation dictates that children born to Maldivians living in conflict zones must be registered in Maldives. But it requires for a court of law to rule the children were born to a Maldivian. 

Application for birth certificate must be filed within four days the court issues its ruling. The procedure is same as the birth certificate application process for children born in Maldives, except for the need to submit the court ruling.