Shamima Begum 'is not a Bangladeshi citizen' country's minister insists

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

Isis schoolgirl Shamima Begum is not a Bangladeshi citizen and will not be allowed to live there, according to the country’s ministry of foreign affairs .

“The government of Bangladesh is deeply concerned that she [Begum] has been erroneously identified as a holder of dual citizenship,” Shahrial Alam told the Guardian.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid ordered the 19-year-old Londoner, who wants to return to the UK with her newly-born child as the so-called caliphate crumbles, be stripped of UK citizenship, claiming she is also a citizen of Bangladesh due to her parentage. 

Britain cannot remove the citizenship of a person who does not have dual nationality as doing so would make them ‘stateless’ and is illegal under international law.

Shamima Begum had told the BBC she didn’t see herself as an IS “poster girl” (Picture: BBC)

Tasnime Akunjee, the lawyer representing Begum’s family said the UK-born teenager of Bangladeshi heritage has never had a Bangladeshi passport and is not a dual citizen.

Mr Akunjee described the family as ‘very disappointed’ over the move to strip Begum of UK citizenship and said they were ‘considering all legal avenues to challenge this decision’.

Lord Carlile, a former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said Bangladesh law would mean Begum would be a Bangladeshi national if Begum’s mother was one too.

But Mr Akunjee told the Independent that the Bangladeshi government ‘does not know who she is’, adding: “Our position is that to all practical purposes she has been made stateless.”

Asked about Begum during PMQs, Theresa May said ‘it is an important message to give’ that the Government will take action against those who are involved in terrorism’.

She added: “The question of deprivation is one that each Home Secretary deals with, there is a very clear set of criteria on which the Home Secretary considers that matter.”

Not every member of the Begum family is against the Government decision.

Begum’s brother-in-law, Muhammad Rahman, said today that the British public should get behind the government revoking the 19-year-old’s passport.

Shamima Begum’s family are considering legal action after she was stripped of British citizenship (PA)

Mr Rahman, whose brother is married to Shamima’s sister Renu, said: “I think we should support it, they [the government] are the people who are in the position to make the decision.

“The people who are making these decisions are doing it for the country. They don’t have an easy job, you can’t please everyone.

“The information they have is to the best of their ability and the British people should support it.”

Begum said she was ‘a bit shocked’ at the Home Office decision to strip her of UK citizenship.

After being informed of the news, Begum told ITV News that the decision was ‘upsetting and frustrating’.

She said: “It’s a bit unjust on me and my son…

“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.”

Begum said she may now try to claim citizenship through her Dutch husband.

Begum said she was ‘a bit shocked’ over the decision to strip her of UK citizenship (ITV News/PA)

She added: “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.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “In order to protect this country, he [Sajid Javid] has the power to deprive someone of their British citizenship where it would not render them stateless.

“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.”

On Monday, in an interview with the BBC, Begum compared the Manchester Arena bombing to military strikes on Isis strongholds, calling the terror attack ‘retaliation’.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has signalled she could be arrested and investigated if she returns to Britain.