The High Court has stopped a 17 year-old from leaving the country amid suspicions she may seek to join ISIS or be forced into marriage.
In a recently published judgment, Mr Justice Hayden said he had “no hesitation” in granting the local authority’s request to make the girl a ward of court and take away her passport.
The local authority was concerned that she had become radicalised and intended to travel to Syria in order to join the extremist group ISIS. They cited two incidents which indicated that she had such plans. Firstly, she had planned to leave the country with two other girls last year but had apparently “lost her nerve” at the last minute and decided against it. The other girls went on without her.
Secondly, she was detained at an airport by a counter terrorism unit in April after she had attempted to travel to Turkey. Police were informed by staff at the airport who were suspicious of a young woman travelling alone on a one-way ticket. The police subsequently confiscated the girl’s passport.
Shortly afterwards, a man who claimed he was the girl’s cousin contacted police. He told them that he wanted to her to attend a family wedding abroad and requested the return of her passport. While the cousin originally claimed the wedding was to take place in Sweden, he later contended that it was in Denmark.
Mr Justice Hayden noted that “urgent enquiries” had revealed that the girl was booked on a flight to the Danish capital Copenhagen along with several members of her cousin’s family. The judge said that the evidence suggested “she may be intending to travel ultimately to an ISIS country”. Additionally, he expressed concern that “she may herself be the subject of a planned, arranged or perhaps forced marriage”.
The judge noted the family’s “lack of candour or openness” throughout the process. He concluded that there was “an obvious risk to a manifestly vulnerable young woman”, made the girl a ward of the High Court and approved the seizure of her passport.
Re Z is available online. To read it, click here.