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Shamima Begum could face capital punishment in Bangladesh – foreign minister

The teenage IS bride has been stripped of her British citizenship.

Islamic State bride Shamima Begum (PA)
Islamic State bride Shamima Begum (PA)

Runaway Islamic State bride Shamima Begum could face the death penalty for involvement in terrorism if she goes to Bangladesh, the country’s foreign minister has said.

Abdul Momen said Bangladesh had “nothing to do” with Ms Begum, and warned she could be “hanged”.

Ms Begum was one of three schoolgirls to leave Bethnal Green in east London to join Islamic State (IS) in 2015.

In February, the now 19-year-old was stripped of her British citizenship by the Home Secretary after she resurfaced at a refugee camp in Syria.

Under international law it is illegal to revoke someone’s citizenship if it leaves them stateless.

It was thought Ms Begum had a claim to Bangladeshi citizenship through her family, but Bangladeshi officials have denied this.

Speaking to ITV News, Dr Momen said: “We have nothing to do with Shamima Begum. She is not a Bangladeshi citizen.

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Shamima Begum, pictured going through security at Gatwick airport, before catching a flight to Turkey in 2015 to join Islamic State (Met Police/PA)

“She never applied for Bangladeshi citizenship. She was born in England and her mother is British.

“If anyone is found to be involved with terrorism, we have a simple rule: there will be capital punishment. And nothing else.

“She would be put in prison and immediately the rule is she should be hanged.”

The issue of Ms Begum’s citizenship arose when she declared she wanted to return home from the Syrian refugee camp, ahead of the fall of IS’s self-proclaimed territorial caliphate.

Ms Begum gave birth to a baby boy, Jarrah, in the camp, who died aged less than three weeks.

The Home Secretary faced criticism in the wake of the child’s death, who was a British citizen regardless of his mother’s status.

Sajid Javid defended his decision to remove Ms Begum’s citizenship and said the Government could not assist British nationals in Syria as there is no consular presence there.

In March, it was reported that Ms Begum’s family have begun legal proceedings to challenge the Home Secretary’s move.

Ms Begum’s family’s lawyer Tasnime Akunjee said Dr Momen pointed out “what is obvious to all”.

“Shamima Begum was born here, raised here and radicalised here, in no way is she Bangladesh’s problem,” he said.

“What Sajid Javid did in stripping Shamima Begum of her citizenship is human fly-tipping – taking our problems and illegally dumping them on our innocent neighbours.

“The Home Secretary is open at any time to change his mind and reverse his decision regarding stripping Shamima’s citizenship.

“This would have the added benefit of saving the British taxpayer all the costs of having a long trial where it is fairly clear what the outcome is going to be.”

The Government has said it would not comment on individual cases and that decisions to deprive individuals of their citizenship are based on “all available evidence” and are “not taken lightly”.

PA

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