By 1 News / TVNZ. Republished with permission
The woman accused of having ties to ISIS, Suhayra Aden, has arrived in New Zealand today, 1 NEWS understands.
It is understood she was accompanied by police on the flight that touched down in New Zealand this morning.
Exclusive pictures show the plane that brought Aden back to New Zealand landing this morning.
In a statement, police told 1 NEWS it was “one of a number of government agencies that have been working for some time on a plan for the family’s return”.
“As this is an operational matter, police will not comment on the timings or arrangements for their return.”
It was confirmed last month that Aden would be returning to New Zealand from Turkey.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at the time Turkey had asked New Zealand to repatriate Suhayra Aden and her two children, who were held in Turkey since crossing over from Syria earlier this year.
Ardern said it had been made “clear that any New Zealander who might be suspected of association with a terrorist group should expect to be investigated under New Zealand law”.
When asked today, Ardern said she would not comment publicly on the specific case, but said they have “planned for it, we’re ready for it and we’re keeping in mind there are children involved”.
“Whilst we have obligations, given this individual is a New Zealand citizen and the status of their children, we have still undertaken all the usual steps you would expect us to take to keep New Zealanders safe.
“We are using all the levers we have to make sure that we’ve done everything we can to keep people safe.”
Police confirmed in July an investigation was underway but would not comment further on the situation.
Aden and her two children would have to undergo the mandatory two week period MIQ stay on return.
Aden moved from New Zealand to Australia at age six, where she also became a citizen. She then left on her Australian passport and travelled to Syria in 2014.
In February, the situation developed into a high profile spat with Australia after it was discovered the country scrapped her once dual citizenship, leaving her with sole New Zealand citizenship.
Jacinda Ardern called it “wrong that New Zealand should shoulder the responsibility for a situation involving a woman who has not lived in New Zealand since she was six, has resided in Australia since that time, has her family in Australia and left for Syria from Australia on her Australian passport”.