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Widow of Omar al-Shishani detained in Istanbul

20 July 2018
Seda Dudurkayeva (/Daily Sabah)

The widow of the Georgian-born former Islamic State Minister of War, Tarkhan Batirashvili, aka Abu Omar al-Shishani, has been detained on the outskirts of Istanbul. Turkish authorities announced on Thursday that Seda Dudurkayeva was detained by Turkish special services on 4 July.

Dudurkayeva, a native of Chechnya, was detained with five others including two young boys. According to Turkish newspaper Vatan, all the detainees were accused of being associated with IS. Dudurkayeva’s husband, was killed last year in an American airstrike.

Dudurkayeva spent several years with the Islamic State, marrying another ethnic Chechen from Georgia, who also died, prior to her marriage to Batirashvili.

Dudurkayeva’s father, Asu Dudurkayev, was previously the head of Russia’s Federal Migration Service in Chechnya, which is responsible for issuing passports for Russian citizens and regulating migration.

Asu was fired in 2013 after his daughter travelled abroad to join the Islamic State. Chechen Head Ramzan Kadyrov assembled a public meeting of the ministry’s staff and publicly chided the minister, announcing that if he couldn’t control his family, he had no moral right to head the migration service.

Kadyrov described his dismissal to frequent complaints from local residents about corruption in Dudurkayev’s department.

According to RIA Novosti, Dudurkayev’s family made several attempts to bring her back from Syria.

According to Kavkaz.Realii, more than 1,500 Russian women are being held in Iraqi and Syrian prisons for involvement with IS.

The Chechen government has worked actively to bring the families of militants home from the conflict in Syria and Iraq, chartering several flights. Eight months ago, the total number of people returned reached 100. Many women have returned with children.

Seda Dudurkayeva’s family has not reacted publicly to the news of her detention, and it remains unclear whether she will attempt to return home to Chechnya.

[Read on OC Media: Wives and children of Islamic State militants return home]