04:47, February 20 214 0 theguardian.com

2019-02-20 04:47:05
Shamima Begum 'a bit shocked' that UK has revoked citizenship

Shamima Begum, the teenager who travelled from east London to Syria to join Islamic State in 2015, has said she was “a bit shocked” when she learned the Home Office had revoked her British citizenship.

“I don’t know what to say,” she told ITV News. “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.”

Sajid Javid wrote to her family informing them he had made an order revoking her citizenship, believing the fact her parents are of Bangladeshi heritage means she can apply for citizenship of that country – though Begum says she has never visited it.

THe ITV News security editor, Rohit Kachroo, showed her a copy of the letter at the Syria refugee camp where she is being held.

“I heard that other people are being sent back to Britain so 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?” she said.

“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.”

Javid is facing condemnation from Labour over his move to remove British citizenship from Begum.

Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, said it would be a failure of the UK’s security obligations and breach of human rights law if the government is proposing to make Begum stateless, arguing her potential citizenship rights elsewhere are “entirely irrelevant”.

Her comments add to criticism from the Scottish National party and the Liberal Democrats over Javid’s decision, which is likely to face a

legal challenge from Begum’s family.

Abbott said: “Whenever there are reasonable grounds to suspect that someone who is entitled to return to this country has either committed or facilitated acts of terrorism, they should be fully investigated and where appropriate prosecuted. This does not appear to be the case here.

“If the government is proposing to make Shamima Begum stateless it is not just a breach of international human rights law but is a failure to meet our security obligations to the international community.”

Potential citizenship rights elsewhere are entirely irrelevant. Our

fundamental freedoms do not need to be compromised; they are perfectly compatible with our safety.”


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