Action over passport renewal for Irish-born child of suspected ISIS fighter resolved, court hears

A dispute over failure to decide a passport renewal application by an Irish-born seven-year-old boy currently in Belarus with his mother has been resolved.
Action over passport renewal for Irish-born child of suspected ISIS fighter resolved, court hears
The boy's Irish passport was confiscated by the Turkish authorities. An application to renew the passport was made last February.
The boy's Irish passport was confiscated by the Turkish authorities. An application to renew the passport was made last February.

A dispute over failure to decide a passport renewal application by an Irish-born seven-year-old boy currently in Belarus with his mother has been resolved.

The case, by Abdul Malik Bekmirzaev, was resolved after the High Court was told a decision will be made by the Department of Foreign Affairs on whether it will renew the boy's passport.

The boy and his parents left Ireland and moved to Syria some years ago after the boy's father Alexandr Bekmirzaev left Ireland and is believed to have gone to fight for Islamic terror group ISIS.

Earlier this year the boy and his mother, Iryna Paltarzhytskaya, were deported to Belarus from a refugee camp in Turkey in January.

Abdul and his mother want to return to Ireland over their concerns about the Belarus government's poor response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The boy's Irish passport was confiscated by the Turkish authorities. An application to renew the passport was made last February.

However, after no decision was made, High Court judicial review proceedings were launched last May against the Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Justice.

In his action, the boy sought orders requiring the Minister for Foreign Affairs to issue him with a new Irish passport, or that the Minister make a determination in relation to the application.

It was claimed that the exceptional delay in making the decision to renew his passport has endangered the boy's health and well-being.

The action came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan today who was informed by Michael Lynn SC, instructed by solicitor Wendy Lyon, for the boy that the matter had been resolved.

The case was settled on the basis that the Irish authorities will make a decision in relation to the passport renewal application.

In the proceedings, it was argued that the boy's passport was being withheld because the Minister for Justice intends to revoke Alexandr Bekmirzaev's Irish citizenship This was because the Dept of Justice believes a 2001 marriage by Mr Bekmirzaev to a woman to a British national was one of convenience.

It was on foot of that marriage which enabled Mr Bekmirzaev to remain in Ireland and ultimately obtain Irish citizenship in 2010.

That first marriage was dissolved in early 2010, and later that year the boy's parents were married in a ceremony in Belarus.

The court heard that Alexandr Bekmirzaev, who converted to Islam in the 1990s, came to Ireland from Belarus in 1999.

He departed for ISIS-controlled Syria to allegedly fight for ISIS shortly after his son's birth in April 2013.

The family reunited in Syria in 2014 where they lived together, until the ISIS 'caliphate' was defeated in 2018 and the family split up.

Mr Bekmiraev was imprisoned, and his son and wife were moved to various refugee camps, before being deported to in Belarus.

His family say they have not heard from Mr Bekmirzaev for some time and fear he is dead.

The issue over who pays the parties' legal costs was adjourned to a date later this month.

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