Protection of vulnerable teen from Jihadi family to continue

family life

A teenager who has lost two brothers to the fighting in Syria should be prevented from following in their footsteps, a judge has declared.

The 17 year-old’s three brothers all travelled to the war-torn Middle Eastern nation to enlist in an offshoot of Al Qaida then known as Jabhat al-Nusra (the Front for Victory). It has since changed its name twice – first to Jabhat Fataḥ al-Shām (the Front for the Conquest of the Levant), and then to Hay’at Tahrir al-Shām (the Organisation for the Liberation of the Levant). It has been declared a terrorist organisation by both the United States and the United Nations Security Council.

Mr Justice Hayden described ‘Y’ as a particularly vulnerable young person” from “an extraordinary family, where the male members are all committed to waging jihad in Syria”.

Two of Y’s brothers had been killed in the conflict, one aged 18 and the other just 16, along with a teenage friend of the family. The third brother was seriously injured but remains in Syria committed to the conflict.

An uncle, meanwhile, has spent time in the infamous Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

At a previous hearing Y had been made a ward of court by Mr Justice Hayden and thereby prevented from travelling abroad. Now the local authority, Brighton & Hove City Council, sought approval for an extended care plan with the aim of protecting him from harm beyond his imminent 18th birthday, when his status as a ward of court and ‘looked after child’ in care would automatically end.

Approving the plan in the High Court, Mr Justic Hayden noted that:

“One of the challenges facing the Courts and Local Authority Social Services Departments in cases involving radicalisation of children and young people is the relatively limited opportunity (in many cases) to effect change or to provide an appropriately rigorous scheme of protection. Though I am resistant to making any kind of generalised observation in these cases, I would note that children or young people in the age bracket 14 – 18 years have appeared to be particularly vulnerable.”

Social workers at the Council had “gone to great lengths” to try and protect Y from the dangerous influences within his family, and these efforts were continuing added the Judge. The new care plan would continue until Y’s 21st birthday to reflect his ongoing vulnerablity.

“He does not become less vulnerable merely by chronological age,” explained the Judge.

A Local Authority v Y is available here.

Photo of ruins in Syria by watchsmart via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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1 comment

Paul - May 10, 2017 at 3:09pm

This youth sounds like an ‘unacceptible’ risk to national security. Despite where he was born or raised his allegence is clearly not with the United Kingdom. Two choices make sense to me.
1: You could let him go. Take his passport at the airport and make it clear he is not welcome back.
2: Detain him as a potetial terror threat.
Option one seems like the best solution. Attempts have been made to rehabilitate this youth. Sometimes only experience and time with rehabilitate people.

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