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'Syria-bound family' back in UK

Published 08/05/2015

News of their return was disclosed by judge Sir James Munby following a family court hearing
News of their return was disclosed by judge Sir James Munby following a family court hearing

A British Muslim couple arrested in Turkey amid fears they were travelling to Syria with their four children have returned to the UK, a judge has said.

Asif Malik, 31, and his partner Sara Kiran, 29, were held in the Turkish capital Ankara with their children last month.

Concerns were raised after the family from Slough, Berkshire, was seen boarding a ferry from Dover to Calais in early April. .

News of their return was disclosed by judge Sir James Munby following a family court hearing in London today.

Sir James said the children had been made wards of court following the launch of family court proceedings.

He said the family was safe and well and being supported by social care staff and he said police inquiries were continuing.

"The Malik family has returned to the jurisdiction of England and Wales," said Sir James, who is the President of the Family Division of the High Court and the most senior family court judge in England and Wales.

"The family is safe and well. The children are wards of court and the family continues to be supported by appropriate social care services, whilst the family court continues to ensure the welfare of the children in co-operation with their parents."

He added: "Police inquiries will continue in the meantime."

Sir James said no further detail of developments could be revealed.

Earlier this week Foreign Office officials said that the family had left Turkey and been detained in Moldova.

The family had been seen boarding a ferry from Dover to Calais on April 8 and was reported missing on April 16.

Ms Kiran's relatives had made an appeal earlier for her to get in touch.

Thames Valley Police expressed concern that the family appeared to be travelling towards Syria, where the Islamic State is fighting to establish a Muslim caliphate.

A number of teenagers have been made wards of court following the launch of family court proceedings this year - after fears were raised about them travelling to Syria.

Children who are wards of court cannot leave the jurisdiction of England and Wales without permission from a judge.

Mr Justice Hayden, who sits in the Family Division of the High Court in London, has handled a number of cases involving girls from east London in recent weeks after fears were aired by social workers and police.

He has also made a 16-year-old boy, whose two elder brothers had been killed waging jihad in Syria, a ward of court.

The alarm was raised in February following the disappearance of Kadiza Sultana, 16, Shamima Begum, 15, and Amira Abase, 15, from their east London homes.

Police said the teenagers were thought to have fled to join the Islamic State.

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