Sajid Javid ordered 19-year-old, who joined Isis in Syria, to be deprived of UK citizenship. Experts give their opinion
The British home secretary, Sajid Javid, wrote to the family of Shamima Begum to inform them of the order to strip her of her UK citizenship.
Begum, now 19, left her home in Bethnal Green, east London, in 2015 when she was 15 and married an Islamic State fighter in Syria. She now wants to return to Britain.
[Begum’s] criminality is very relevant … We have a wide array of legislative power in this country, many specifically designed to deal with returning fighters and sympathisers. The problem seems to be that [Javid] believed there was insufficient evidence to bring a prosecution.
The alternative was to deprive her of citizenship, meaning that the only way she can appeal against this decision is via the special immigration appeals commission, which is largely based on closed evidence, and which she will not have any access to (and neither will her lawyers). It seems that it is an easy way out for the home secretary without having to prove her criminality in a court of law.
You can in law deprive a dual-national of British citizenship if the home secretary believes this is conducive to the public good. [Javid] will have to [prove both those things].
Assuming Begum had Bangladeshi citizenship – it’s not something she’s sought, it’s not something she seems ever to have used, she’s never been there. She’s got no real connection with the country to which the home secretary now claims she exclusively belongs. That is what makes it difficult.
It is no different from a temporary exclusion order. It is more drastic of course as it will stop her from coming back to the UK.
My concern is that, at the moment, we do not have laws to adequately prosecute in cases like this. If we had a treason law, for example, that had been updated we could have a much stronger stance from which to bring her back and have her tried in the UK.
She has not been to Bangladesh and would have no means to survive in that country in terms of independence because she has no contacts there. When she was a 15-year-old the police were aware that she was being brainwashed and groomed by Isis, in the same way that people are sexually groomed. When she went to Syria she married a man twice her age within a few days of arriving there. It’s sexual exploitation as well as [ideological grooming].
The police, [school and] Tower Hamlets were aware she was being groomed and they did not tell her parents. That’s a shocking level of incompetence. The police gave her a letter to say they wanted to interview her, it was found in the schoolbag after she was gone.
I’m British, born in Birmingham to a family that has worked for the British Army in three continents and I have worked tirelessly to keep my fellow citizens safe. Is my citizenship conditional?
I understand the anger of those who say Shamima Begum should not be allowed to return to the UK. But I don’t agree, for a simple reason: she was born in Britain and has British citizenship. Which other is supposed to look after her on our behalf? Syria? Another European country? Can you imagine the fury here if we took a French or Italian citizen who joined Isis?
Begum is homegrown and is our problem. It has to happen here. As for her newborn boy, he will be one of the most vulnerable British citizens in the world. Unless we have now given up on compassion and justice – and believe that the sins of the mother should be visited on an innocent baby.
What stripping Shamima Begum of her citizenship does is confirm the Isis claim that Muslims can never truly belong here in the west, and that propaganda blow was handed to them by our very own home secretary.
Link : What do experts think of revoking Shamima Begum’s citizenship?