Father of Kerala woman in Afghan jail moves SC to repatriate daughter

Sonia Sebastian and the minor child is detained in Kabul’s Pul-e-charkhi prison Afghanistan.

Published: 02nd August 2021 11:18 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd August 2021 11:18 PM   |  A+A-

Image used for representational purpose (File | EPS)

Express News Service

KOCHI: The father of Sonia Sebastian alias Ayisha a Keralite woman who landed in jail in Afghanistan following the killing of her IS fighter husband in an attack there, on Monday approached the Supreme Court seeking a directive to the centre government to take steps to repatriate her daughter and 7-year-old granddaughter.  Sonia Sebastian and the minor child is detained in Kabul’s Pul-e-charkhi prison Afghanistan.

The allegation was that she and her husband- Abdul Rashid exited India with an intention to join the Islamic organization in Afghanistan on July 30, 2016. Interpol had also issued a Red corner notice on March 22, 2017.

The petition was filed through Advocates Renjith B Marar and Lakshmi N Kaimal.

The petitioner- VJ Sebastian Francis, Ernakulam submitted that during an interview conducted by a news portal his daughter had repented her decision to join ISIS and wanted to return back to India and face a fair trial before the courts here.

The petition stated that since the defeat of the IS in Afghanistan, the Taliban is seeking immediate withdrawal of American forces from its soil. "Thereby the United States of America has announced its complete military exit from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021. It is anticipated that subsequent to the withdrawal of the American forces the Taliban and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan may enter into a war in which case, the alleged foreign terrorist fighters like Sonia could be hanged to death. The present and future of the minor child in such circumstances pose numerous issues involving various domestic and international obligations on India," the petition said.

The inaction of the centre government to bring back the detenue constitutes a violation of the bounden obligations of the Country under international humanitarian law including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,1948 (UDHR) and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966, the petition said. The inaction also constitutes the violations of rights of the child under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which mandates children involved in armed conflicts actively or passively to be repatriated. "Further, the state also ought to exercise its 'parens patriae' jurisdiction to bring back a child who was under a negligent parent. Since the Government of India has a Consular/ diplomatic mission in Afghanistan it is also necessary that immediate action need to be taken to know the whereabouts of the detenue," the petition said.

In the year 2019 due to heightened military operations by Afghan Security forces and the NATO-led Resolute Support mission, the IS fighters had to surrender their final scrap of territories to US-backed forces giving up the land they once declared as Caliphate. In the battle, Abdul Rashid died along with many other accused persons who went from India to join the fight. Following the horrendous battle, Sonia and many other women and children surrendered to the Afghan forces on November 15, 2019.


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