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Dublin: -1°C Saturday 23 January 2021

Shamima Begum calls for 'mercy' from British authorities after having citizenship revoked

Begum was 15 when she ran away to join the jihadists in 2015.

Image: Met Police/PA Images

A LONDON TEENAGER who joined the Islamic State group in Syria today called on the British authorities to reconsider their decision to revoke her citizenship, calling for “mercy”.

“I would like them to re-evaluate my case with a bit more mercy in their heart,” Shamima Begum told Sky News from a refugee camp in eastern Syria, as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn backed her return.

Begum was 15 when she ran away to join the jihadists with two school friends from Bethnal Green in east London in 2015.

Now a 19-year-old mother, she has become a refugee after the group’s proto-state collapsed.

Separated from her Dutch IS fighter husband, and after giving birth to a son in the camp last weekend, she now wants to come home.

Her family’s lawyer, Tasnime Akunjee, is looking at challenging Britain’s decision to revoke her citizenship, which risks leaving Begum stateless.

The Guardian newspaper reported that he plans to travel to the camp to seek Begum’s consent to bring her newborn son back to Britain while the case plays out.

“I would hope that I would be able to outline the options for her, explain things to her. We would want her agreement and consent of course,” he said.

But Begum told Sky News she would not allow her son – her third child, after the other two died in recent months while living under IS – to leave Syria without her.

Asked if she can change or be rehabilitated, she replied: “I am willing to change.”

Begum’s family are from Bangladesh but the country said on Wednesday she had no claim to citizenship there.

Reacting today today to the removal of Begum’s citizenship, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it was a “very extreme manoeuvre” from the UK Home Office.

He said she has the right to return to Britain but would face serious questions when she did so. 

© AFP 2019

With reporting from Seán Murray

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