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Swedish woman jailed for war crimes over son becoming child soldier

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By Reuters

STOCKHOLM – A Swedish court found a Swedish woman guilty of war crimes for failing to prevent her 12-year-old son from becoming a child soldier in Syria, where he was killed in the civil war.

The woman has denied the charges.

“The district court sentences Lina Ishaq to six years in prison for grave violation of international law and grave war crime,” the Stockholm district court said on Friday.

“She, in her capacity as protection guarantor, omitted to prevent her son Joan, 12-15 years, from being recruited by unknown accomplices and used as child soldier on behalf of IS in the armed conflict in Syria,” it said in the verdict.

The 49-year-old woman, a Swede who returned from Syria in 2020, is the first person known to have been charged in Sweden with aiding the recruitment of her own minor son as a child soldier.

The boy, born in 2001, died in 2017.

According to the United Nations, recruiting and using children under the age of 15 as soldiers is prohibited under international humanitarian law and recognised as a war crime by the International Criminal Court.

Under Swedish law, courts can try people for crimes against international law committed abroad.