Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 25 May 2019

UK home secretary denies responsibility for death of ISIS fighter's child

19-year-old Shamima Begum’s child died of pneumonia last week in a Syrian refugee camp

Home secretary Sajid Javid defended the government's decision to revoke Shamima Begum's citizenship, saying his priority was the safety and security of Britain and the people who lived there. Reuters 
Home secretary Sajid Javid defended the government's decision to revoke Shamima Begum's citizenship, saying his priority was the safety and security of Britain and the people who lived there. Reuters 

British Home Secretary Sajid Javid has denied responsibility for the death of teenage ISIS lady fighter Shamima Begum’s child.

Her three-week-old son, Jarrah, died of pneumonia in a Syrian refugee camp last week.

Mr Javid has come under intense pressure from other MPs over Jarrah's death.

“The death of any British child, even those children born to a foreign terrorist fighter, of course, is a tragedy," Mr Javid told the House of Commons on Monday.

"But the only person responsible for the death of that child is the foreign terrorist fighter.”

Ms Begum and two schoolmates fled from east London through Turkey to Syria in 2015, where they were married off to ISIS fighters.

Former home secretary Amber Rudd then revoked her British citizenship.

On Saturday, Mr Javid was criticised by shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, who said the child died as a result of Ms Begum’s citizenship being revoked.

“The tragic death of Shamima Begum’s baby, Jarrah, is a stain on the conscience of this government,” she said.

Mr Javid defended the decision and said the government’s actions were based on advice and intelligence from the security services, counter-terrorism policy and legal officials in the Home Office.

He said he would not "shy away from using those powers at my disposal to protect this country".

The British government is unable to provide support for UK nationals in Syria because it does not have a consular presence there.

“We have made it very clear, since 2011, that no British citizen should travel to Syria,” Mr Javid said.

“Those who have stayed until the bitter end include some of the most devoted supporters of Daesh.

“I don’t want any more children brought into a war zone because their parents think that they will be automatically be bailed out, no matter what the risk.”

Ms Begum’s family has urged the Home Office to urgently reconsider as “an act of mercy” its decision to revoke her citizenship.

The 19-year-old sparked outrage in February after telling the media that she did not regret her decision to travel to Syria and that she was unfazed by the sight of severed heads.

After leaving the UK, she married Yago Riedijk, a Dutch ISIS fighter who is being held in a Kurdish detention centre in north-eastern Syria.

She later said she regretted talking to the media and was moved to another location in Syria after she and her child received threats in the refugee camp.

Other British citizens who have left the country and married terrorists have also had their citizenship revoked.

The Sunday Times reported this week that two women, who have a total of five boys under the age of eight, were also stripped of their UK citizenship after marrying into a terror cell linked with the murder of westerners.

The newspaper identified them as Reema Iqbal, 30, and her sister Zara, 28, whose parents were from Pakistan. It was reported that the sisters left for Syria in 2013.

About 150 people have had their British citizenship revoked since 2010.

Updated: April 2, 2019 03:08 PM

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