Jihadi bride Shamima Begum slams ‘unjust’ decision to revoke her citizenship

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Islamic State bride Shamima Begum has claimed the Government’s decision to revoke her British citizenship is “unjust”.

The 19-year-old, who left the UK to travel to Syria aged 15, said she was “a bit shocked” when she learned of the move by Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Shamima Begum. The schoolgirl who fled London to join the Islamic State group in Syria. Picture: BBC/Contributed

Shamima Begum. The schoolgirl who fled London to join the Islamic State group in Syria. Picture: BBC/Contributed

She suggested she may now seek citizenship in the Netherlands, where her husband is from.

Ms Begum was shown a copy of a Home Office letter setting out the action against her.

Speaking at a refugee camp in Syria, where she is staying with her newborn baby boy, she said: “I don’t know what to say. I am not that shocked but I am a bit shocked.

“It’s a bit upsetting and frustrating. I feel like it’s a bit unjust on me and my son.

“It’s kind of heartbreaking to read. My family made it sound like it would be a lot easier for me to come back to the UK when I was speaking to them in Baghuz. It’s kind of hard to swallow.”

She suggested other returnees are “being sent back to Britain”, telling ITV News: “I don’t know why my case is any different to other people, or is it just because I was on the news four years ago?

READ MORE: Shamima Begum: Reaction to revoking IS teen’s UK citizenship

“Another option I might try with my family is my husband is from Holland and he has family in Holland.

“Maybe I can ask for citizenship in Holland. If he gets sent back to prison in Holland I can just wait for him while he is in prison.”

Ms Begum fled the UK in February 2015 with two other girls from the same school in east London.

Last week, she declared that she wanted to come home with her son.

Her comments sparked intense debate about the UK’s responsibilities to those seeking to return from Syria.

The case took a dramatic turn on Tuesday when it emerged Mr Javid had opted to strip Ms Begum of her British citizenship.

The British Nationality Act 1981 provides the Home Secretary with the power to take such action if it is “conducive to the public good”.

A protracted legal battle over the move is now looming. International law forbids nations from making people stateless.

The move prompted speculation that Ms Begum, who is reportedly of Bangladeshi heritage, holds dual nationality or would be eligible for citizenship of another country.

However her family’s lawyer Tasnime Akunjee told the Press Association she was born in the UK, has never had a Bangladeshi passport and is not a dual citizen.

Lord Carlile, former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said Ms Begum could challenge the decision, and described it as a “complex issue” that could take a while to resolve.

READ MORE: Can Shamima Begum be stripped of her British Citizenship?

“It could run for a very long time through the courts,” he told BBC Breakfast. “I suspect that the result is going to be that she will stay where she is for maybe two years at least.”

The Home Office said the Home Secretary “has the power to deprive someone of their British citizenship where it would not render them stateless”, adding: “We do not comment on individual cases, but any decisions to deprive individuals of their citizenship are based on all available evidence and not taken lightly.”

Figures for 2017 show that 104 people were deprived of their British citizenship - up from 14 in the previous year.