State expected to oppose case by son of alleged Isis fighter for renewal of Irish passport

Boy currently in Belarus with his mother after deportation from Turkish refugee camp

The State is expected to oppose an application for renewal of the Irish passport of a seven-year-old boy.

The boy, an Irish citizen, is currently in Belarus with his mother, having both been deported there from a Turkish refugee camp.

The case by Abdul Malik Bekmirzaev is deemed by lawyers for the State to be a complex one due to issues including the 2010 naturalisation of the boy’s father, Alexandr Bekmirzaev.

It is alleged Mr Bekmirzaev, whose whereabouts are described as unknown, went to fight in Syria for Isis.


The boy and his mother, Iryna Paltarzhytskaya, want to return to Ireland over their concerns about the Belarus government’s poor response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

An application to have Abdul’s passport renewed was made in February, but no decision has been made.

That has led to the proceedings against the Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Justice.

When the action came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan on Monday, Frank Callanan SC, for the Ministers, said his side needed time to take instructions on "complex issues" raised in the proceedings.

There was an issue over the naturalisation of the boy’s father, who is thought to be in Syria, counsel said.

The boy, represented by Michael Lynn SC, instructed by solicitor Wendy Lyon, claims the passport is being withheld because the Minister for Justice intends to revoke Alexandr Bekmirzaev’s Irish citizenship.


This, they claim, is because the Department of Justice believes a 2001 marriage by Mr Bekmirzaev to a woman, believed to be a British national, was one of convenience.

On foot of that marriage, Mr Bekmirzaev was able to remain in Ireland and ultimately obtain Irish citizenship in 2010.

That first marriage was dissolved in early 2010 and, later that year, Abdul’s parents were married in a ceremony in Belarus.

The judge said he was prepared to facilitate an early hearing of the dispute and adjourned the case to next month.

The court heard that Alexandr Bekmirzaev, who converted to Islam in the 1990s, came to Ireland from Belarus in 1999.

He departed for Isis-controlled Syria, to allegedly fight for Isis, shortly after his son’s birth in April 2013.

The family reunited in Syria in 2014 where they lived together, until the Isis “caliphate” was defeated in 2018 and they were split up. Mr Bekmiraev was imprisoned following his capture by Kurdish soldiers, and his son and wife were moved to various camps, before being deported to Belarus.

His wife and son say they have not heard from Mr Bekmirzaev for some time and fear he may be dead.

In February, an application for renewal of the boy’s Irish passport, which was confiscated by the Turkish authorities, was made.

In his judicial review proceedings, the boy claims the exceptional delay in making the decision to renew his passport has endangered his health and well-being, his rights of Irish citizenship are being interfered with and he is severely prejudiced by the delay.