Published: Fri, February 22, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Bangladesh Denies Citizenship to Daesh Teen Bride Shamima Begum

Bangladesh Denies Citizenship to Daesh Teen Bride Shamima Begum

Nigel Farage battled an LBC caller who said Isis bride Shamima Begum should be allowed back in Britain.

19-year-old Begum provoked controversy when she told Sky News that she didn't regret joining IS and that people should have "sympathy" for her.

"She is a British citizen by birth and has never applied for dual nationality with Bangladesh", the Bangledeshi foreign ministry said in a statement.

Last week, she declared that she wanted to return home for the sake of her child, who was born Sunday in a Syrian refugee camp.

But Najrul Khasru, a British-Bangladeshi barrister and part-time tribunal judge who has reviewed Bangladesh's citizenship laws, told the Guardian he believed Begum was not a Bangladeshi citizen unless, at the time of her birth, her parents had registered her at the High Commission, which he said was very uncommon within the British-Bangladeshi community.

Asif Salam, an immigration solicitor from Salam Immigration, noted that the child cannot possibly live without his mother in the United Kingdom so "because of the child, the mother could by default get back her nationality or get a limited leave to remain - to be able to live with her child in the United Kingdom".

Javid noted on Wednesday that worldwide law that means Britain can only do this if it will not leave the person stateless, if they are a dual national or "in some limited circumstances they have the right to citizenship elsewhere".

Home Secretary Sajid Javid told Parliament on Wednesday: "Children should not suffer, so if a parent loses their British citizenship it does not affect the rights of their child".

In Begum's case: "It may be that as she is still under 21, her Bangladeshi citizenship technically remains intact".

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He added that Begum's lawyers could still argue that she was now "de facto stateless", because she is in a war zone with no travel documents or access to consular services.

"I wasn't born in Bangladesh, I've never seen Bangladesh and I don't even speak Bengali properly, so how can they claim I have Bangladeshi citizenship".

"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".

The case highlights a dilemma facing many European countries, divided over whether to allow jihadists and ISIS sympathisers home to face prosecution or barring them over security concerns as the so-called "caliphate" crumbles.

"I was hoping Britain would understand I made a mistake, a very big mistake, because I was young and naive".

Speaking from the refugee camp after being informed of the decision yesterday, Begum said she was "a bit shocked". They don't have an easy job, you can't please everyone.

Now she is begging her family to help her get back home. Asked whether she could change or be rehabilitated, she said: "I am willing to change".

"But when someone turns their back on the fundamental values and supports terror, they don't have an automatic right to return to the UK", Javid added. "We must put the safety and the security of our country first, and I will not hesitate to act to protect it".

But shadow home secretary Diane Abbott accused him of breaching the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that "no-one shall be arbitrarily deprived of their nationality".

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