ISIS Bride Shamima Begum will be hanged if she comes to Bangladesh, warns country’s minister


PTI, May 4, 2019, 11:03 AM IST

London: UK’s runaway ISIS bride Shamima Begum will be hanged for supporting terrorism if she visits Bangladesh, the country’s Foreign Minister has warned.

Minister Abdul Momen said the 19-year-old girl — who fled Bethnal Green for Syria and is currently living in the al-Hol desert refugee camp in Syria — would be punished severely as the country has a “zero tolerance” for terrorism.

Begum was one of three schoolgirls to leave Bethnal Green to join the terror cult in 2015 and resurfaced at a Syrian refugee camp in March. Now 19, Begum was stripped of her British citizenship in February by Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

“We have nothing to do with Shamima Begum. She is not a Bangladeshi citizen. She never applied for Bangladesh citizenship. She was born in England and her mother is British,” Momen told UK’s ITV News.

“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,” he said.

The Foreign Minister added he would be “sad” if Begum was left stateless, but said it had “nothing to do with us”. “We see so many people who are stateless,” he said.

He likened the British government’s decision to strip Begum of her British citizenship and potentially leaving her stateless to the treatment of the Rohingya by the Burmese authorities. “When they’re being persecuted and killed, we open our doors to save humanity,” he said.

Bangladesh claims it is currently hosting almost 1.1 million Rohingya refugees after they fled over the border to escape persecution in their native country. The British government is yet to respond to Momen’s comments.

Begum, who fled London as a 15-year-old schoolgirl to join the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group, is believed to be entitled to Bangladeshi citizenship by virtue of her parents’ heritage. She fled to join ISIS in February 2015 and married Dutch ISIS recruit Yago Riedijk as a so-called jihadi bride.

Her 27-year-old husband, who is being held in a Kurdish detention centre in north-eastern Syria, recently said in a media interview that he wanted his wife and baby to be allowed to return to the Netherlands.

Both the Netherlands and Bangladesh have since denied that Begum would have a right to entry into either country. Under international law, the UK can revoke a citizenship of a British national only if the individual would not be made stateless.

Begum’s British citizenship was revoked on the grounds that she is eligible for citizenship of Bangladesh until the age of 21 through her parents’ Bangladeshi dual nationality. But Bangladesh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has since ruled out such a possibility of her being considered for Bangladeshi citizenship.

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