Shamima Begum is not our problem, says Bangladesh government

David Harding
Contributor
Shamima Begum is not our problem, said Bangladesh's foreign minister. (AP)

Bangladesh’s government has said that Shamima Begum, the teenage Londoner who fled to Syria, is not their problem.

The country’s Foreign Minister Abdul Momen said the teenager is British, not Bangladeshi, and if she travelled to Dhaka she could be hanged for terrorism.

“We have nothing to do with Shamima Begum. She is not a Bangladeshi citizen,” he told ITN.

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

Begum fled to Syria with London school friends (DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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

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

Begum, 19, was stripped of her British nationality by the current Home Secretary Sajid Javid in February.

She was one of three Bethnal Green schoolgirls who fled to Syria and joined Islamic State in 2015.

In her time with IS she was married and had three children, though all three have died.

There were allegations that she worked for IS morality police and she was discovered at a Syrian refugee camp in March.

The UK government's official reason for depriving Ms Begum of her British passport has never been made public, although it is against the law to make someone stateless.

Regardless, Mr Momen said she was not welcome in Bangladesh.

U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces fighters fire on Islamic State militants (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

He said he would be "sad" if she was left stateless, but said it "nothing to do with us".

He compared the British government's decision to strip Ms Begum of her British citizenship to the treatment of the Rohingya by the Burmese authorities, many of who have fled to Bangladesh.

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