Shamima Begum: What could happen to the Isil bride?

The country doesn’t offer to help its citizens in Syria who are willing to return, and if they report to an embassy, they would be transported to Holland, arrested and prosecuted.

A foreigh fighter with dual nationalities deemed a threat to national security – like Britain – can have their Dutch citizenship and passport revoked.

If that happens, Begum would have to follow him. But her British passport is – as it stands – invalid. And she previously said she had travelled to Syria on her sister’s passport, which has since been taken from her.

Dutch legislation dictates that a spouse or partner wishing to live in Holland would need a residence permit, and in order to be eligible for a permit – they must have a valid passport or other travel documents.

Somehow, if she manages to make the 2,000-mile journey from Syria to Holland, the Dutch authorities would have to accept that she and Riedjik are married.

The pair were wed within the confines of Islamic State a matter of weeks after she arrived. It is highly unlikely there is paperwork to prove they are legally married, and even if there is, the Dutch authorities would have to accept it as binding.

Home Office decision is rescinded

As the Home Office’s letter states, Shamima Begum and her family have the right to appeal the decision.

Her lawyer Tasnima Akunjee’s rhetoric all along suggests he will help his client fight any move to strip her of her British citizenship.

If judges side with Begum, deciding Sajid Javid had no right to revoke her British citizenship because it renders her stateless – the Government would be back to square one.

The appeal might not necessarily need to happen. If, as Begum’s lawyer suggests, the Isil bride is currently stateless – the Home Office would be forced to reverse it stance.

In that scenario, all these options are once again back on the table.

Sent to Guantánamo Bay

As revealed by Ben Riley-Smith, Robert Mendick and Laura Fitzpatrick on The Telegraph’s front page on Friday, the United States is planning to send British Isil fighters to Guantánamo Bay amid frustration at the UK’s failure to take responsibility for its homegrown terrorists.

Senior US officials believe Guantánamo can house more than 50 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fighters, including the two surviving British members of the so-called “Beatles” terrorist cell that executed Western hostages.

It has emerged that the vast majority of Islamist fighters returning to the UK from Syria have been placed on “secretive” government rehabilitation schemes rather than prosecuted.

Despite British concern, Guantánamo Bay is being readied in the run-up to Donald Trump’s withdrawal of US troops from Syria as soon as April.

There is acute frustration within the Trump administration over how Britain and other western European countries are refusing to take back their foreign fighters for prosecution in their own courts.

Arrest and prosecution

Home Secretary Sajid Javid previously said those who make it back “should be ready to be questioned, investigated and potentially prosecuted”.

But authorities have faced difficulties obtaining evidence to prove someone committed crimes in Syria.

Most recently, The Isil Beatles have caused the Government enormous problems. Two of the four suspected terrorists’ fate has been left in limbo as the UK and the US play tug-of-war with where they will end up in court.

The Home Office previously blocked their return, and they could end up in an American federal court facing the death penalty after the CPS said there was “insufficient evidence” for them to be tried in the UK.

Figures disclosed in the Commons last year suggested that only around one in 10 returnees has been prosecuted over “direct action” in Syria, although ministers say a significant proportion of those who have come back were assessed as no longer being of national security concern.

New legislation which passed last week made it an offence to enter or remain in overseas terror hotspots, officially termed “designated areas”.

Managed return to UK

Powers known as temporary exclusion orders (TEOs) were introduced in 2015.

They can last for up to two years and can be imposed on those suspected of involvement in terrorism abroad, making it unlawful for them to return to the UK without engaging with authorities.

The powers were unused in 2016, while nine TEOs were issued in 2017.


Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIMs) allow the Home Secretary to impose a range of disruptive measures on individuals who are suspected of posing a threat to security but who cannot be prosecuted, or, in the case of foreign nationals, deported.

Restrictions can include relocation to another part of the country, electronic monitoring and limits on the use of phones and computers.

As of the end of August, six TPIMs were in force.

Deradicalisation back in Britain

Returnees could be referred to the Government’s £40 million a year Prevent programme, which aims to stop people being drawn into terrorism.

There were 7,318 individuals referred to Prevent in 2017/18.

In most cases, referrals are found to require no further action or passed to other services, but when authorities conclude there is a danger the person could be drawn into terrorism, they can be supported through a voluntary scheme known as Channel.

Prevent is backed by ministers and police, but has been described as “toxic” by critics, and the Government announced earlier this year that it would be independently reviewed.

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