Shamima Begum exposed to real risk of torture or death, court told

Shamima Begum
The Canary

The decision to revoke the British citizenship of Shamima Begum – one of three east London schoolgirls who travelled to Syria to join Daesh (Isis / Isil) – has exposed her to a “real risk” of torture or death, a court has heard.

Begum left the UK in February 2015 and lived under Daesh rule for more than three years. She was found, nine months pregnant, in a Syrian refugee camp in February this year.

Former home secretary Sajid Javid stripped her of her British citizenship, a decision her lawyers argue was unlawful as it rendered her stateless. Such a decision is lawful only if an individual is entitled to citizenship of another country.

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Begum is bringing proceedings against the home office before the High Court and the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), a specialist court which hears challenges to decisions to remove someone’s British citizenship on national security grounds.

Missing schoolgirls
From left to right, Amira Abase, Kadiza Sultana, and Shamima Begum at Gatwick airport in February 2015 (Metropolitan Police/PA)

At the start of a four-day preliminary hearing in London on Tuesday, Tom Hickman QC told Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing that the situation in the al-Roj camp, in which Begum is currently being held, is “incredibly fragile and dangerous”.

In written submissions, he described conditions at the camp, where Begum’s third child died in March, as “wretched and squalid”, adding that “the tragic death of the appellant’s infant child … demonstrates that fact”.

The court is being asked to determine “whether the deprivation decision rendered the applicant stateless”. The home office says the decision does not.

But Hickman said Begum – who is of British-Bangladeshi heritage – “is not considered a national of Bangladesh and was therefore rendered stateless by the deprivation decision”.

He submitted that the Bangladeshi courts “would determine that the appellant did not automatically acquire Bangladeshi citizenship having been born outside Bangladesh as a UK citizen by birth”.

He referred to evidence from an expert in Bangladeshi law, who says that it is “nearly impossible that any court in Bangladesh would rule against the government”, which has publicly denied Begum is a citizen of Bangladesh.

Hickman said the court also had to decide “whether the deprivation decision gave rise to a real risk of death or degrading and inhuman treatment”.

He submitted that conditions in al-Roj – and in the al-Hawl camp from which Begum was moved for her own safety in February – breached Begum’s human rights.

Hickman added that the decision “had the effect – and was designed – to prevent” Begum from return to the UK, leaving her “abandoned” in a detention camp.

This, he added, meant Begum “cannot have a fair and effective appeal” as she is unable to speak confidentially with her lawyers or to give evidence in support of her appeal.

Hickman said SIAC “will not be considering the national security case against the appellant or the proportionality of the decision to deprive her of citizenship”.

In his written case, the home office’s barrister, Jonathan Glasson QC, argued that Begum “was a Bangladeshi citizen by descent, in accordance with Bangladeshi law, and so was not rendered stateless by the deprivation decision”.

He also submitted that Begum “has not been placed at risk of ill-treatment” as a result of the decision to revoke her British citizenship.

“Any risk that the appellant does face arose, and continues to persist, as the result of the appellant having travelled to Syria and aligned with [Daesh] and is wholly unrelated to the deprivation decision,” he added.

Begum, then aged 15, was one of three schoolgirls from Bethnal Green Academy who left their homes and families to join Daesh, shortly after Sharmeena Begum – who is no relation – travelled to Syria in December 2014.

Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, then 16 and 15 respectively, and Begum boarded a flight from Gatwick Airport to Istanbul, Turkey, on February 17 2015, before making their way to Raqqa in Syria.

Begum claims she married Dutch convert Yago Riedijk 10 days after arriving in Daesh territory, with all three of her schoolfriends also reportedly marrying foreign Daesh fighters.

She told the Times in February that she left Raqqa in January 2017 with her husband but her children, a one-year-old girl and a three-month-old boy, had both since died.

Her third child died shortly after he was born.

Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing is expected to reserve her judgment.

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  • Show Comments
    1. She is British by birth and she is the product of British education system which made her stupid, selfish and corrupt like majority of British MPs. All so called Jihadis in Iraq and Syria are the product of British education system and none were ever educated in a Muslim school. She and all others have the legal right to be reunited with their families. They have nowhere to go.

      If a non-Muslim does something bad. It is crime. But if a Muslim does the same. He is terrorist.

      I liked the answer of this German Muslim scholar
      when he was asked about terrorism and Islam :
      1. He said : Who started the first world war? Muslims?
      2. Who started the second world war ? Muslims ?
      3. Who killed about 20 millions of Aborigines in Australia ? Muslims ??
      4. Who sent the nuclear bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ? Muslims ??
      5. Who killed more than 100 million of Indians in North America ? Muslims ??
      6. Who killed more than 50 million of Indians in south America ? Muslims ??
      7. Who took about 180 millions of African people as slaves and 88% of them died and was thrown in Atlantic ocean ? Muslims ??

      No , They were not Muslims!!! First of all, You have to define terrorism properly… If a non-Muslim does something bad. It is crime. But if a Muslim does the same. He is terrorist… So first remove this double standard…then come to the point!!! , . . . .

      Who killed Iraqi since 2003..? Who is Vad Dracula who killed 300.000 Muslims..? Who colonized Indonesia..? Who killed Palestinian..?? Who began first and second world war..? Who killed red Indian..? Who is Hitler..? Who is Mussolini..? Who is Stalin..? Who genocides Muslim in Myanmar..? Who is George W. Bush and his father..??? Open your eyes, ears, and heart..!!! MUSLIM IS NOT TERRORIST. Actually it’s the media and the western ugly civilisation(!) which has taken the duty (!) of attacking Islam as well as peace….

      21 million were killed in first and 50 million in second world wars……no Muslim was engaged in that wars at all……

      Native Brits planned to bomb Parliament House and Buckingham Palace. They were convicted under the Explosive Act. If they were Muslims they would be tried under Terrorism Act. They are the product of British education system which makes a man stupid, selfish and corrupt like majority of British MPs.

      Muslim rapes of non-Muslim girls and women should be counted terrorist crime. If Muslims fart or sneeze or both at the same time, that should be counted as biological terrorism. All Terrorists are Muslims… Except the 99,6% that Aren’t. We are not terrorist as west call us but we are victims of terrorist like BUSH.

      The Government has stated that “Nursery staff and child-minders are given duty to report toddlers they risk of becoming terrorists under new Home Office measures.” So basically if a child-minder thinks your toddler is showing concerning behavioural traits they have to report them, as if being a toddler isn’t hard enough already.

      I feel these rules from the Home office will only serve to create tension, suspicion and a lack of tolerance between people. Really, is the government so naïve in social science that they really feel these ideas work? No, they are not. They know exactly what they are doing. They are creating a climate of fear for no more reason than control.

      There will never be an end to extremism as long as Muslim children keep on attending non-Muslim schools with non-Muslim teachers. None of 7/7 bombers and British Muslim youths who are in Syria and Iraq are the product of Muslim schools. They are the product of British schooling which is the home of institutional racism with chicken racist native teachers. It is absurd to believe that Muslim schools, Imams and Masajid teach Muslim children anti-Semitic, homophobic and anti-western views. It is dangerously deceptive and misleading to address text books and discuss them out of their historical, cultural and linguistic context. It is not wrong to teach children that Jews are committing the same cruelty in Palestine what German did to them before or during Second World War. It is not wrong to teach children that anti-social behaviour, drinking, drugs, homosexuality, sex before marriage, teenage pregnancies and abortions are western values and Islam is against all such sins. This does not mean that Muslim schools teach children to hate westerners, Jews and homosexuals.

      None of 7/7 bombers and British Muslim youths who are in Syria and Iraq are the product of Muslim schools. They are the product of British schooling which is the home of institutional racism with chicken racist native teachers. It is absurd to believe that Muslim schools, Imams and Masajid teach Muslim children anti-Semitic, homophobic and anti-western views. It is dangerously deceptive and misleading to address text books and discuss them out of their historical, cultural and linguistic context. It is not wrong to teach children that Jews are committing the same cruelty in Palestine what German did to them before or during Second World War. It is not wrong to teach children that anti-social behaviour, drinking, drugs, homosexuality, sex before marriage, teenage pregnancies and abortions are western values and Islam is against all such sins. This does not mean that Muslim schools teach children to hate westerners, Jews and homosexuals.

      Terrorism and sexual grooming is nothing to do with Masajid, Imams and Muslim schools. Those Muslim youths who have been involved in terrorism and sexual grooming are the product of western education system which makes a man stupid, selfish and corrupt. They find themselves cut off from their cultural heritage, literature and poetry. They suffer from identity crises and I blame British schooling.

      If a bunch of poor Muslim migrants can overturn European way of life, maybe Europeans should think twice about making their culture more creative, their economy more vigorous, their society more appealing? Western so called ethnic unicity is a concept that is completely mistaken. Europeans fled to America in millions and now they try to prevent other human beings from entering their realm of double standards???

      Poverty and dysfunctional social services are the real problem. If a young Muslim breaks into the shop, the immediate problem is the poor police presence and ultimate problem is youth unemployment and economic stagnation in EU. If you ‘get rid of Muslims’ the shop will be robbed by a young white skinhead. White Christians were poor thugs and robbers in Europe 40 or 20 years ago. What changed is that Muslim immigrants replaced native whites at the bottom of the social ladder in Europe. Social issues remained the same. It is painful to realize that German society has very much social exclusion, stagnation and poverty, despite high taxes and formally high social services.

      Stop this hate against Muslims. It is not them who are terrorists , but all those who imply they are with the help of media you try bringing others to your side giving false details – twin towers wasn’t Muslim either – that was the Americans – you will not win as Islam Will forever grow and prove it is peaceful through the will of God (Allah SWT)… amen. This is undermining confidence in the Muslim community and increasing Islamophobia. This is another example of the media whipping up hysteria against the UK Muslim community. The way our Gov treating British Muslims is as if all Muslims are terrorists unless they prove otherwise. Gov should focus on its job. Governors of this school worked hard to help a failing school achieve outstanding rating from Ofsted. Please fix Ofsted and stop demonising Muslims. Nick Clegg on LBC radio indicated that the DFE is full of right wing ideologues and extremist loons. Islamic schools protect Muslim children from the onslaught of Euro centrism, homosexuality, racism, and secular traditions. All education systems appear to be indoctrination systems. I went to a good private school. Guess how we were ‘encouraged’ to think about politics! Having a Muslim name in UK is a crime. All UK job application forms have sections ask your race and religions. Most UK employers simply reject your applications just by looking at this section.

      Islam does not support terrorism under any circumstances. Terrorism goes against every principle in Islam. If a Muslim engages in terrorism, he is not following Islam. He may be wrongly using the name of Islam for political or financial gain. The Prophet Muhammad said, ‘Do not kill women or children or non-combatants and do not kill old people or religious people….Muslims Against Terrorism requests media not use phrases such as “Islamic Fundamentalists” or “Muslim Terrorists” regarding terrorist attacks “Because such things do not exist. Islam is the religion of peace, love and mutual respect. Islam is the religion of moderation. Islam is the religion of human value and dignity.” They ask that religious affiliation not be mentioned in terrorist attacks.
      IA
      http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

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