Return of jihadists: the case of Shamima Begum embarrasses the United Kingdom

The British government does not really know what to do with the citizens who have fled the country to give allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group. Shamima Begum, a 19-year-old girl from Bethnal Green, a district in the east of ...


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Renu, Shamima Begum's big sister, holding a photo of her younger sister in 2015. LAURA LEAN / POOL / AFP

The British government does not really know what to do with the citizens who have fled the country to give allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group. Shamima Begum, a 19-year-old girl from Bethnal Green, a neighborhood in East London, was found by a Times reporter in a Syrian refugee camp a few months ago. The girl asked to return to the UK, but the state had decided to withdraw her British citizenship. A decision she challenged by appealing to a lawyer very famous in the field.

From our correspondent in London, Marina Daras

Shamima Begum is one of three London schoolgirls who joined Syria in 2015. Her story resurfaced when she asked to join the UK last February for the sake of her newborn baby.

But Interior Minister Sajid Javid decided a few days later to revoke his British citizenship. The Shamima Begum case is once again on the front pages of the newspapers because the girl has just obtained legal aid to challenge the decision of the Ministry of the Interior. Shamima Begum's lawyers will therefore have access to legal aid from the government that is supposed to help the poorest.

► See also: The United Kingdom also facing the return of citizens who have joined the IS

Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt says he disagrees with this decision, but access to legal aid is an undeniable right for the poor and Shamima Begum was one of them.

The girl should be represented by Gareth Peirce, one of the UK's leading human rights lawyers, known for defending several jihadists and members of the IRA, the Irish Republican Army.

ref: rfi