'Syria-bound' woman charged with child abuction refuses to stand before judge


A woman who allegedly planned to travel to Syria with her four children has refused to stand before a judge as she appeared in court charged with child abduction.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was detained in Turkey on Tuesday after the family went missing from their home in north-east London last week.

She appeared at Camberwell Green Magistrates' Court in London today, where she indicated she would plead not guilty and refused to stand in the dock before District Judge Susan Green.

The defendant told the judge: "I'm sorry, it's part of my religion, so I would prefer to sit down."

Judge Green responded: "I'm not going to argue. Get on with the case."

The defendant's father broke down in tears in the public gallery as his daughter was remanded in custody to appear at Southwark Crown Court on September 21.

The woman's husband, two sisters and her cousin were also sitting in the public gallery.

Dressed in a dark-coloured head scarf, the defendant turned to her family as she was led from the dock and said: "Don't cry," before she blew a kiss.

She showed no emotion throughout the hearing but giggled at one point when a mobile phone rang in the public gallery.

Following an investigation by the Metropolitan Police's counter-terrorism command (SO15), the defendant has been charged with taking four children under the age of 16 out of the UK without the appropriate consent on August 25.

She was questioned by police after returning to Britain and held at Luton Airport on Thursday night. All of the children were said to be ''safe and well'' when the group was detained by Turkish authorities.