She’d face death penalty in Bangladesh

Foreign minister tells BBC about ‘IS Bride’

Shamima Begum, who left east London to join the Islamic State in 2015, would “face the death penalty” for terrorism if she came to Bangladesh, said a BBC report, quoting Foreign Minister Abdul Momen.

In an interview with the British public broadcaster, Momen said Begum had “nothing to do” with Bangladesh.

The 19-year-old was stripped of her British citizenship in February.

Her claim to Bangladeshi nationality through her mother is believed to have played a role in the British Home Office’s decision, the BBC reports.

It added that under international laws, it was illegal to deprive a person of citizenship if to do so would leave them stateless.

Speaking to the BBC, Begum’s lawyer, Tasnime Akunjee, said “in no way is she Bangladesh’s problem”.

Begum is appealing against the Home Office’s decision.

Meanwhile, according to the BBC report, Momen said there was “no question” of giving Begum Bangladeshi citizenship or allowing her into the country, piling pressure on Britain’s Home Secretary Sajid Javid to settle her status.

“She has never sought Bangladeshi citizenship and her parents are also British citizens,” he told the BBC.

“The British government is responsible for her. They’ll have to deal with her.”

He added that, if she did end up coming to Bangladesh, she would fall foul of the country’s “zero tolerance policy” towards terrorism.

“Bangladeshi law is very clear. Terrorists will have to face the death penalty.”

Although Begum travelled to Syria to join the IS group, she has not admitted to any terror offences.

The Home Office could reverse its decision “at any time” and doing so would “save British taxpayers a lot of money” in court costs and legal aid, Akunjee said.

“What Sajid Javid did in stripping Shamima of her citizenship is human fly tipping -- taking our problems and dumping them on other countries,” he said.

The Home Office told the BBC it would not respond to Momen’s comments and had nothing further to add to its previous statement.

Begum left the UK with two school friends at the age of 15 before being found by a journalist from the Times in a Syrian refugee camp in mid-February this year.

Pregnant with her third child, she pleaded to return to the UK, claiming she had been “brainwashed” by Islamic State and now “regrets everything”.

She said she did not regret travelling to Syria but did not agree with everything the IS group had done, the BBC reports.

Javid did not acquiesce to her pleas, telling MPs he “won’t hesitate” to revoke her citizenship in the interests of national security.

“If you back terror, there must be consequences,” he said.

Soon afterwards, she gave birth to a boy called Jarrah. He died of pneumonia in March at less than three weeks of age. She had two other children who also died.

In the wake of the boy’s death, Javid was criticised over the decision to strip Begum of her British citizenship.

Three weeks prior to the death, Begum’s sister, Renu Begum, had written to Javid asking him to help her bring the baby to the UK.

Under the 1981 British Nationality Act, a person can be deprived of their citizenship if the home secretary is satisfied it would be “conducive to the public good” and they would not become stateless as a result.


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