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Tuesday 20 August 2019

Halawa's lawyer in push to get Isil bride and child returned

Lisa Smith: Lawyer claims growing risk to her and her daughter Rakaya. Photo: Norma Costello
Lisa Smith: Lawyer claims growing risk to her and her daughter Rakaya. Photo: Norma Costello

Norma Costello

The lawyer who secured the release of Ibrahim Halawa from four years in an Egyptian prison is representing Isil bride Lisa Smith and her daughter.

Darragh Mackin, from Belfast-based Phoenix Law, announced the firm has been instructed by Ms Smith's family to represent the former Defence Force member and her two-year-old daughter Rakaya.

"We have been instructed by the family of Lisa Smith and her daughter in seeking their immediate repatriation.

"As it stands, there are real and immediate concerns for Lisa and her daughter's safety. There can be no wiggle room for any further delay, the Irish Government must now act to ensure that both Lisa and her daughter are safely returned to Ireland and reunited with their family," he said.

Despite statements from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that the Government would repatriate all citizens who joined Isil, Ms Smith and naturalised citizen Alexandr Bekmirzaev remain in the Kurdish-held enclave in northern Syria.

The head of Foreign Relations for North Eastern Syria, Dr Abdulkarim Omar, said the Government has not contacted the de facto government to repatriate Smith.

Mr Mackin said: "The DFA [Department of Foreign Affairs] must ensure effective procedures are now put in place to ensure the safe return of Lisa and her daughter, as soon as practically possible.

"Every day that passes, the risk to their well being and safety increases."

The DFA has said that consular assistance will be provided "when it is possible to do so".

Ms Smith has questioned the security inside the camps. "Dawla [Isil] can just buy me back," she said following reports of Belgian women and children escaping a similar camp in the region.

Irish Independent

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