Jeremy Corbyn: Removing IS teen Shamima Begum’s UK citizenship ‘not right’ | Politics News
Jeremy Corbyn has told Sky News stripping Islamic State recruit Shamima Begum of her British citizenship is “not the right thing to do”.
The Labour leader questioned Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s decision to bar the 19-year-old from the UK, adding “she should be brought back” to Britain.
Shamima Begum, who travelled to Syria as a 15-year-old schoolgirl in 2015, recently gave birth to a baby boy in a refugee camp in the country.
She now wants to come back to the UK to raise her son, but the Home Office has revoked her British citizenship.
Despite not commenting directly on her case, Mr Javid has suggested he can take such action because the teenager is a dual national or has the right to citizenship elsewhere.
Under international law, it is illegal for a country to make someone stateless by removing their citizenship.
A lawyer for Shamima Begum’s family has said the UK-born teenager of Bangladeshi heritage has never had a Bangladeshi passport and is not a dual citizen.
The Bangladeshi government has also declared she is not a Bangladeshi citizen and that she is a British citizen by birth and has never applied for dual nationality with Bangladesh.
They have said there is no question of her being allowed to enter into Bangladesh.
Speaking during a visit to Brussels on Thursday, Mr Corbyn told Sky News: “She was born in Britain, she obviously must face questioning… but I think taking someone’s citizenship away is not the right thing to do.
“She should be brought back, she should be questioned over everything that has gone on and whatever action that has to be taken [should be] taken after that.”
He added: “She is a British national and all British nationals have a right, but they should also be subject to the appropriate procedures and laws in relation anything she may or may not have done.”
The vast majority of the British public support the government’s decision to strip Shamima Begum of her British citizenship, according to a Sky Data poll.
Challenged that he is out of step with UK public opinion, Mr Corbyn said: “The principle is, she was born in Britain and has British nationality.”
He also disputed those suggestions Shamima Begum is a dual British-Bangladeshi citizen, adding: “No, she has a right to apply for Bangladeshi nationality on the basis of her parentage.”
Despite acting against Shamima Begum, Mr Javid suggested to MPs that the rights of her newborn son were unaffected by his mother’s loss of citizenship, saying that “children should not suffer”.
“Children should not suffer, so if a parent does lose their British citizenship, it does not affect the rights of their child,” the home secretary said.
He has also claimed he would never take a decision to leave an individual stateless.
Shamima Begum has described Mr Javid’s decision to revoke her citizenship as “a bit unjust on me and my son”.
Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott has also criticised the government’s decision, claiming ministers “could not subvert the rule of law” just because it is “not convenient”.
“You cannot strip people of their British nationality under international law if it will leave them stateless,” she told BBC Radio 4’s World At One.
“That’s the legal position and we are a country of laws.”
Ms Abbott has also suggested Mr Javid’s action is likely to be overturned by the courts.
Shamima Begum, from Bethnal Green in east London, told Sky News in a recent interview from the Syrian refugee camp that she was aware of beheadings and executions being carried out by jihadists.
She said she was “okay with it” because she had heard “Islamically that is allowed”.
She married a young Dutch fighter called Yago Riedijk three weeks after she arrived in Syria.