‘Daesh bride’ Shamima Begum may not be ‘continuing threat,’ UK court told

‘Daesh bride’ Shamima Begum may not be ‘continuing threat,’ UK court told
Shamima Begum, 21, left the UK to join Daesh in Syria in 2015. (AP Photo)
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Updated 24 November 2020

‘Daesh bride’ Shamima Begum may not be ‘continuing threat,’ UK court told

‘Daesh bride’ Shamima Begum may not be ‘continuing threat,’ UK court told
  • Lawyers fighting for Shamima Begum’s right to return to the UK to challenge the 2019 decision to revoke her citizenship said her case must be heard with the 21-year-old present
  • Begum was 15 when she and two other schoolgirls from Bethnal Green, east London, left home to join the extremist group on February 17, 2015

LONDON: A woman stripped of her UK citizenship after joining the Daesh group in Syria may not pose an ongoing security risk to Britain, the Supreme Court was told on Tuesday.

Lawyers fighting for Shamima Begum’s right to return to the UK to challenge the 2019 decision to revoke her citizenship said her case must be heard with the 21-year-old present.

“What security threat Ms Begum will pose... will inevitably depend on the circumstances of her case (and) an assessment of her, of the risk — if any — that she as an individual poses on her return,” her lawyer David Pannick said.

“It cannot be assumed... that because Ms Begum traveled to Syria and because there is evidence she aligned with Daesh, it therefore follows that she constitutes a continuing threat,” he added.

Britain’s ruling Conservative government has asked the Supreme Court to decide if Begum can return to pursue an in-person appeal.

The Court of Appeal ruled in her favor in July but the interior ministry immediately appealed, insisting she remains “aligned” with the proscribed terrorist organization.

Begum was 15 when she and two other schoolgirls from Bethnal Green, east London, left home to join the extremist group on February 17, 2015.

She claims she married a Dutch convert soon after arriving in Daesh-held territory. She was discovered, nine months pregnant, in a Syrian refugee camp in February last year.

Her newborn baby died soon after she gave birth. Two of her other children also died under Daesh rule.

Then-home secretary Sajid Javid annulled Begum’s British citizenship on national security grounds.

She took legal action, arguing the decision was unlawful as it had made her stateless and exposed her to the risk of death or inhuman and degrading treatment.

British-born Begum is of Bangladeshi heritage. But Bangladesh’s foreign minister has said he will not consider granting her citizenship.

A lawyer for the government on Monday told the five-judge panel hearing the appeal over two days that allowing Begum to return would expose the public to “an increased risk of terrorism.”

“What we submit is that those who traveled (to Syria)... pose a clear and present threat specifically on return,” James Eadie said.

But rebutting the claims, Pannick said security assessments had not advised the home secretary that the risk posed by Begum’s return was “unmanageable.”
He added Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIMs) as well as her potential prosecution, which have been used for other people returning from Daesh territory, could be utilized.

“The court cannot assume, should not assume, that... TPIMs and criminal prosecution are inadequate to protect this country from her when she returns,” Pannick said.

Addressing the arguments that Begum posed a security threat, he added that was not a legal basis for preventing her in-person appeal.

“The requirements of procedural fairness... cannot be overridden by national security without express statutory authority,” Pannick added.


Netherlands anti-curfew protests spark clashes with police, looting

Netherlands anti-curfew protests spark clashes with police, looting
Updated 1 min 2 sec ago

Netherlands anti-curfew protests spark clashes with police, looting

Netherlands anti-curfew protests spark clashes with police, looting
THE HAGUE: Protests against a curfew to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the Netherlands degenerated into clashes with police and looting in cities across the country Sunday, authorities and reports said.
Police used water cannon and dogs in Amsterdam, public television NOS reported, after hundreds gathered to protest the curfew which is set to last until February 10 and is the country’s first since World War II.
In the southern city of Eindhoven, police fired tear gas to disperse a crowd of several hundred, regional television Omroep Brabant reported. At least 30 people were arrested there, according to police.
A number of vehicles were burned and businesses at Eindhoven’s central train station were also looted, media reports said.
Dutch rail company NS called on travelers to avoid the Eindhoven station, where it said train circulation was interrupted due to the intervention of emergency services nearby.
Eindhoven mayor John Jorritsma told reporters that if the country continued “down this path, then I think we are heading for civil war.”
Incidents were also reported in The Hague, Breda, Arnhem, Tilburg, Enschede, Appeldoorn, Venlo and Ruremond.
A Covid-19 testing center was set on fire on Saturday evening in the village of Urk in the north of the country, local authorities said.
“The fire in a screening center in Urk goes beyond all limits,” Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said on Sunday.
Violators of the 9 p.m. to 4:30 am curfew, which Prime Minister Mark Rutte says is needed to bring case numbers down, face a 95-euro ($115) fine.
Exemptions are possible, in particular for people returning from funerals or those having to work, but on condition that they present a certificate.
Rutte also announced on Wednesday a ban on flights from Britain, South Africa and South America, and a cut in the number of guests allowed in people’s homes to one, from the previous limit of two.
New variants of the virus have led to deep concern in Europe, particularly a more infectious strain that first emerged in Britain.
The Netherlands was already under its toughest measures since the start of the pandemic, with bars and restaurants having closed in October, and schools and non-essential shops shut since December.
Dutch lawmakers on Thursday approved Rutte’s curfew plan, though on condition that it begin half an hour later than the original 8:30 p.m. start time.
The move had faced criticism led by far-right politician Geert Wilders, who called it “careless” and “disproportionate.”
“I stand here for freedom. I lost it myself,” said Wilders, who has for years been under round-the-clock security after receiving death threats.
“I do not accept that we unnecessarily... introduce curfews while there are alternatives.”
Rutte and his cabinet resigned on January 22 over a scandal involving child tax benefits, but they will continue to govern until elections in mid-March.