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What would happen if British IS schoolgirl Shamima Begum returns to the UK? | UK news

A pregnant British student who joined the Islamic State (IS) in Syria said she wants to return to the UK.

The 19-year-old says she's Shamima Begum, the teenager who left Bethnal Green in 2015 with friends to join the IS.

Talking to the Times, Begum said, "I do not regret coming [to IS]"but wants to return home for her unborn child.

Although he became an IS bride and lived in the IS Fortress Raqqa, Begum did not admit to having participated in battles.

:: What happened when she left?

Amira Abase, Kadiza Sultana and Shamima Begum
Amira Abase, Kadiza Sultana and Shamima Begum fled the UK in 2015

When Begum and her friends sneaked out of the country, they launched a counter-terrorism investigation.

However, Scotland Yard head Bernard Hogan-Howe said in 2015 that Begum and her friends would not face terrorist attacks on their return – unless there was evidence that they had committed specific crimes during ISIS.

Mr Hogan-Howe's statements remain true, according to the lawyer representing the Begum family.

Tasnime Akunjee has confirmed to Sky News that he believes Begum should be treated as a victim unless other crimes are proven abroad.

"I am relieved that she is alive and horrified by the news that someone is there so young has children born and lostSaid Mr. Akunjee.

Kadiza Sultana (L), Shamima Begum (C) and Amira Abase go through the safety of Gatwick before taking a flight to Turkey
Kadiza Sultana (L), Shamima Begum (C) and Amira Abase go through the safety of Gatwick before taking a flight to Turkey

"There are many opportunities [regarding] her return, "he said, without wanting to go into more detail out of respect for Begum's family.

He added that the topic of Begum's return is "a controversial topic and raises very strong positions in the public sphere". He noted that he had already "seen some terrible comments".

Mr. Akunjee continued, "There is a very traumatized young person who has to live the rest of his life with the added burden of reporting his tragedy."

:: How could Begum return?

She could either try to sneak out of the refugee camp she is in or ask the British authorities for help.

She may be temporarily excluded and she can not enter the UK.

:: What would happen if Begum finds a way to Britain?

Begum will almost certainly investigate to see if she has committed any crimes and determine if she is a threat.

The final decision would lie with Interior Minister Sajid Javid, supported by assessments of MI5, MI6 and the fight against terrorism.

Shamima Begum traveled to Syria in 2015
Shamima Begum traveled to Syria in 2015

Security Secretary Ben Wallace said: "The UK does not recommend travel to Syria and parts of Iraq, and anyone traveling to these areas for any reason exposes themselves to significant danger.

"Anyone who returns from participating in the conflict in Syria or Iraq must expect the police to investigate him for crimes and to ensure that he does not endanger our national security.

"There are a number of terrorist offenses in which people may be convicted of crimes committed abroad, and we may also use temporary exclusion orders to control the return of individuals to the UK."

It is estimated that 850 Britons, including about 150 women, have joined jihadi groups in Syria and Iraq.

The numbers vary, but it is believed that around 80 women and children have returned.

Women and girls returning from IS strongholds were detained and interrogated when they landed on British soil.

Begum says she is nine months pregnant. If she gave birth on British soil before landing, she would risk having her child removed from her, as was the case with at least one IS widow on her return.

:: How likely is it that she is convicted of terrorism?

The likelihood that Begum will be convicted of terrorism is low, since the ability of prosecutors to prove that terrorist activity was unquestionably difficult is difficult as access to evidence is often limited.

Sir Mark Rowley, who is retiring as head of the Met's counterterrorism team, said in 2015 about Begum's case, "We have no evidence that these three girls are responsible for terrorist offenses nothing else comes to light that we will treat them as terrorists. "

Rowley's theoretical rhetoric protects Begum from being jailed as a member of IS, which has been a banned organization since 2014, the year before his comments. This includes a penalty of up to six months and a fine.

Kadiza Sultana, Shamima Begum, Adiza Abase
Kadiza Sultana, Shamima Begum, Adiza Abase

New legislation under the Terrorism Act 2000, which prevailed in parliament, could lead Begum to face ten years in a British jail – even if she can prove that she did not actively benefit IS while living in Syria.

Under the draft law, persons traveling or staying in certain geographical areas deemed by the Minister of the Interior to be at risk of terrorism could be prosecuted.

Begum, who is believed to have only British citizenship, is protected from any attempt to eliminate his citizenship, as it is only possible for dual citizens.

What do politicians and experts say about returnees?

Their opinion of those returning from ISIS is shared.

Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said earlier that "a dead terrorist can not harm Britain," while Mark Hill, the UK's independent terrorism reviewer, suggests that the authorities try to rehabilitate some British citizens who have been forced to rehabilitate them to pursue IS or who has traveled by "naivety" to Syria and Iraq.

Mr. Hill added that returnees could be a way for security services to collect information.

Dr. Katherine Brown, Lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Birmingham, said there are a number of different fates returnees face.

The option for Bettum to return home is governed by the law of the United Kingdom.

Secretary of Defense Gavin Williamson arrives at Downing Street
Secretary of Defense Gavin Williamson represents a difficult attitude towards IS returnees

Dr. Brown, who wrote in a blog about the ethical and practical responsibilities of repatriating foreign fighters, said, "This option presents challenges because there is sufficient evidence, jurisdiction, and ambiguity about the status of returnees."

She adds, "Some may have been forced to travel (often wives and children), and others may have supported." [IS] through non-violent means … this should be done by the police and the courts, not the politician or the media. "

Dr. Brown points out that this option is better than giving returnees justice in the country they return from.

She argues that although "we can not completely eliminate the risk of terrorist behavior" by allowing them to return to Britain, "we can reduce that risk" and "challenge the extremist belief that the West is not interested in Muslim citizens ".


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