Lawyer: Britain plans to strip IS teen of UK citizenship

Lawyer: Britain plans to strip IS teen of UK citizenship

Kerry Wise
February 21, 2019

A teenager who was stripped of her British citizenship after leaving London to join the Islamic State (IS) group is not a Bangladeshi citizen and there was "no question" of her being allowed to enter the country, the foreign ministry in Dhaka said on Wednesday.

However, Home Secretary Sajid Javid's removal of ISIS bride Shamima Begum's United Kingdom citizenship is likely to be reversed, unless she has dual nationality, legal experts have said.

In a statement posted on Twitter, he said: "Family are very disappointed with the Home Office's intention to have an order made depriving Shamima of her citizenship".

It is illegal under global law to deprive someone of their nationality where to do so would leave that person stateless, and Javid said that in each case, the government would "absolutely make sure that if we go ahead and take that decision [to remove citizenship] that they will not be left stateless". However, they signaled that she could be prosecuted upon arrival in the UK.

She does not have duel citizenship. "If he gets sent back to prison in Holland I can just wait for him while he is in prison".

Begum's family lawyer Tasnime Akunjee said Begum has never had a Bangladeshi passport and isn't a dual citizen. That is one of the advantages of this provision in the law; it allows the Home Secretary to use their discretion to deprive citizenship as effectively an administrative power.

"Children should not suffer, so if a parent does lose their British citizenship it does not affect the rights of their child", the minister said.

'If there is insufficient evidence for a prosecution it is our job to look at the threat they pose if they are returning from Syria and we do that with every single person who comes back from Syria and then manage the risk with colleagues in the (security and intelligence) agencies'.

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Ms Begum has given birth to a son since being found in the refugee camp last week by a Times journalist.

News obtained the letter sent to Ms Begum's mother on Tuesday, which said the Home Secretary Sajid Javid had ordered the move and explained it had already been processed.

News said Begum's mother had received a letter from the Home Office on Tuesday (local time) which said the Home Secretary had ordered the move. I never encouraged people to come to Syria.

The teenager said she had married an IS fighter, had lost two children through malnutrition and disease, and wanted her newly born baby boy to grow up in Britain.

U.S. President Donald Trump has demanded that European countries take back their citizens who fought in Syria, but European nations are anxious about security.

"I'm a 19-year-old girl with a newborn baby", she said.

The Home Office letter read: "Dear Mrs Begum". "Nineteen years old, nine months pregnant, weak and exhausted from her escape across the desert, she nevertheless looked calm and spoke with a collected voice".

Javid said last week that he "would not hesitate" to prevent the return of those who joined terror organisations like the Islamic State group, CNN reported.