Turkish court releases ISIS member Zehra Duman after two months despite seven year prison sentence

ANKARA — After she was sentenced to seven years in prison on charges related to membership in the Islamic State (ISIS), Turkish authorities released former Australian citizen Zehra Duman because “she is the only person able to care for her two children … who are aged under six” despite the Turkish state’s usual policy of locking children up with their mothers.

Duman — originally a dual Australian and Turkish citizen from Melbourne, Australia — left her hometown and family in 2014 to travel to Syria. She was reportedly recruited by ISIS member Mahmoud Abdel Latif, who later married her.

Duman admitted during the investigation that while she was in Australia, she was online recruiting women to marry ISIS jihadists and later she became a major recruiter for the group.

In 2019, Duman was transferred to Al-Hol Refugee Camp in North and East Syria. Turkish authorities arrested her trying to cross the border after she escaped from Al-Hol. She was convicted on charges of promoting ISIS on social media and recruiting women to join the group.

Duman was stripped of her Australian citizenship but is still a citizen of Turkey.