Mother 'tried to take four children to Syria to make sister come back'
Published 19/02/2016 | 13:04
A mother wept as she told a jury she tried to smuggle her four children into Syria to try and convince her sister to come back from the war-torn country.
Zahera Tariq, 33, of Edmonton, and her children, aged five to 12, travelled to Amsterdam while her husband Yasair Mahmmood was at work.
The family then went to Turkey and were detained three days later, on August 29 last year, in Kilis, Turkey, close to Syrian territory held by Isis.
Tariq told Southwark Crown Court on Friday that her sister Aisha went to Syria with her children in 2014 to join her husband.
She said her mother was "completely taken aback" and added: "It was a shock for all of us."
The defendant wept uncontrollably and held her head in her hands as she continued: "We tried to speak to her, we said 'look what you're doing, come back'.
"She would apologise and said 'I'm so sorry I can't come back'."
She added: "We thought maybe one of us should go and see if we can meet up with her and maybe if she meets us it would have a different effect - she wouldn't be able to resist seeing us."
Tariq claims she took her four children because she thought her sister "would see them and her heart would melt".
She said she had a "close" relationship with her younger sibling and added: "We had gone through some beautiful times with our children."
The British national, who was born in London, married her husband, also her first cousin, in 2000 in Pakistan where their family is originally from.
Their three sons suffered from various medical conditions, including severe asthma and hereditary eye problems.
She insisted she had discussed her plans with her husband but he had refused to go with them.
"He said 'I'm going to work - if you want to take the kids and go then go'," she added.
"I was furious, I was really, really mad at him and I said I will go."
Prosecutor Mukal Chawla told the court the children's father did not know they were leaving the country and never gave his permission.
Tariq denies four charges of abduction on August 25 2015.
The trial continues.