Shamima Begum ‘still poses risk to national security,’ court hears during appeal

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Shamima Begum fled East London for Syria when she was 15-years-old with two other friends to join the Islamic State group (ISIS), where she married one of the groups’ fighters. Ms Begum was found nine-months pregnant in a Syrian detention centre in 2019 and her British citizenship was revoked for national security reasons. She has denied any involvement in terror activities and is challenging a Government decision to remove her citizenship.Monday’s hearing heard how she is still a “risk to national security” and was rightly stripped of her citizenship.Ms Begum claims she was a victim of child trafficking and claimed she was smuggled into Syria by a Canadian spy.A Special Immigration Appeals Commission hearing at Field House tribunal centre, London, and is expected to last five days.Sir James Eadie, KC, for the Home Office, told the court: “This is a case about national security. This is not a case about trafficking.”She knew the nature of the organisation she was joining, Sir James added.Sir James said that Ms Begum “travelled, aligned and stayed in Syria for four years” and that she only left IS-controlled territory for safety reasons “and not because of a genuine disengagement from the group”.Samantha Knights, KC, for Ms Begum, said: “This case concerns a British child aged 15 who was persuaded, influenced and affected with her friends by a determined and effective IS propaganda machine.”Ms Knights said there was “overwhelming” evidence that Ms Begum had been “recruited, transported, transferred, harboured and received in Syria for the purposes of ‘sexual exploitation and ‘marriage’ to an adult male”.Last summer, during an interview, Ms Begum said she wanted to be brought back to the UK to face charges and added in a direct appeal to the Prime Minister that she could be “an asset” in the fight against terror.She added that she had been “groomed” to flee to Syria as a “dumb” and impressionable child.The Supreme Court denied permission for her to return to the UK and she remains imprisoned in a camp in northern Syria.According to the BBC and The Times, Mohammed Al Rasheed, who is alleged to have been a double agent working for the Canadians, met the girls in Turkey before taking them to Syria in February 2015.Both news organisations reported that Rasheed was providing information to Canadian intelligence while smuggling people to IS, with The Times quoting the book The Secret History Of The Five Eyes.READ MORE: Qatar World Cup – Inside the hell endured by migrant workersImmigration minister Robert Jenrick said people should have an “open mind” about teenagers marking mistakes.He said it would be “difficult” to comment ahead of the courts ruling but added: “I do think as a fundamental principle there will be cases, rare cases … where people do things and make choices which undermine the UK interest to such an extent that it is right for the Home Secretary to have the power to remove their passport.”Ms Begum fled with friends Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase.Ms Sultana was reportedly killed in a Russian air raid and Ms Abase is missing.

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