UK to Use Loophole to Revoke ISIS Teen's Citizenship

Shamima Begum will not be stateless, they say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2019 1:02 AM CST
UK Moves to Strip ISIS Teen of Citizenship
This undated photo issued by the Metropolitan Police shows Shamima Begum.   (Metropolitan Police via AP)

British authorities have taken steps to ensure that a woman who ran away from her London home to join ISIS when she was 15 can never come home. In a letter to the parents of Shamima Begum seen by ITV News, Britain's Home Office says it has decided to deprive her of her citizenship. It would have been illegal under international law to make the 19-year-old stateless, but British authorities have found a loophole: She is of Bangladeshi heritage and is entitled to dual citizenship because her mother holds a Bangladeshi passport, though the 19-year-old says she has never been to the country, the BBC reports. British law states that a person can be stripped of citizenship if it is "conducive to the public good" and does not render them stateless.

Begum, who recently gave birth to a baby boy in a Syrian refugee camp, calls the news "kind of heartbreaking," notes the Guardian, adding that "I feel like it’s a bit unjust on me and my son." The boy is still entitled to British citizenship. Her relatives say they are "very disappointed" with the decision and they plan to challenge it in the courts, the New York Times reports. Numerous lawmakers criticized the decision, with Conservative MP George Freeman saying the move sets a "dangerous precedent." "She was born here, educated here & is our responsibility," he tweeted. "We should defend our system & she should be brought back to face the UK courts." (An American woman in the same refugee camp says she "deeply regrets" joining ISIS.)

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