Shamima Begum‘s family accuse Sajid Javid of ‘human fly-tipping‘ jihadi bride and exploiting her to aid his career – as they blame Britain for failing to protect her from being ‘groomed‘ by ISIS
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has been accused of ‘human fly-tipping‘ over the decision to revoke the British citizenship of Islamic State bride Shamima Begum.
Her family also accuse Mr Javid of using the case to further his political career, and blame Britain for failing to protect her from being ‘groomed‘ by ISIS.
Mohammed Akunjee, a lawyer representing Ms Begum‘s family has called for the decision to cancel her citizenship to be overturned and an apology offered.
The 19-year-old was one of three schoolgirls to leave Bethnal Green in east London to join the terror group in 2015 and resurfaced at a Syrian refugee camp earlier this year.
Mr Javid revoked the teenager‘s British citizenship in February in a move only permissible under international law if it does not leave the individual stateless.
In a letter Mr Akunjee says that Begum was ‘born, raised, groomed and radicalised here in the UK‘ and should not be left for another country to deal with.
He says the ‘cynical‘ decision was unlawful, ‘unprincipled‘ and ‘amounts to human flytipping.‘
In a letter published by the Times, Mr Akunjee said: ‘Your act represents the most profoundly egregious, capricious and politically-driven abuse of power.
‘It was a unilateral, unprincipled response to the publishing of Mr Loyd‘s interview (with Ms Begum in a refugee camp), deployed as an artifice or device to further your own personal political objective of being Prime Minister.
‘Ms Begum was a pawn to your vanity. Her baby died.‘
Sajid Javid accused of ‘human fly-tipping‘ in letter from Shamima Begum‘s family
An extract from the letter sent to Sajid Javid from Shamima Begum‘s lawyer Mohammed Akunjee:
On 19 February 2019 you deprived Shamima Begum of her British citizenship on the ground that doing so was conducive to the public good and that Shamima was a dual British / Bangladeshi citizen.
On behalf of Shamima Begum’s family we write inviting you – or your successor as Secretary of State for the Home Department (“SSHD”) – to reverse your decision to deprive Shamima of her citizenship and to apologise to her and her family for the breaches of international and domestic law encompassed in that decision.
Your act represents the most profoundly egregious, capricious and politically-driven abuse of power. It was a unilateral, unprincipled response to the publishing of Mr Loyd’s interview, deployed as an artifice or device to further your own personal political objective of being Prime Minister. Ms Begum was a pawn to your vanity. Her baby died.
The decision to strip Shamima of her British citizenship was an unprincipled, knee-jerk reaction to the media furore generated by her speaking of the unedifying realities of living in ISIS controlled Syria. The statements she made to the Press could in no way justify the unlawfulness of your decision.
Furthermore, by wielding the power to deprive a person of her citizenship contained in s40 of the British Nationality Act 1981 in the capricious way you have in this case, you have in effect created a two tier system of British citizenship. Your new system ranks those persons descended from immigrants (like yourself) below those descended solely from native British nationals. A graded hierarchy of citizenship applied to those born in the UK is a construct fundamentally offensive to the concept of citizenship itself.
It is the responsibility of a British Secretary of State to deal with British problems. Rather than take responsibility for Shamima Begum and her son, you took a British problem and illegally dumped it on our innocent international neighbours. You have dishonourably left it to the Kurdish people to bear the financial and security burden of Shamima’s safety and upkeep. You left them to minister to her sick child and to bury him. Through sleight of hand you have sought to burden the Bangladeshis with her in the longer term.
Your cynical decision amounts to human fly tipping.
Given the unlawfulness of the decision itself and the panoply of injustice caused by it, we invite you (or your successor) to reverse it and apologise to all concerned.
Yours sincerely, Mohammed Akunjee, Farooq Bajwa & Co Solicitors
Ms Begum, then heavily pregnant, was interviewed at the Al-Roj camp in northern Syria on February 13 this year and said she wished to return to the UK, as the self-styled caliphate collapsed.
Mr Akunjee wrote she feared about the quality of healthcare which would be offered to the then unborn child given her first and second child had both died.
The baby, named Jarrah, was born on February 16 and died of pneumonia on March 8, the letter said.
Stripping citizenship is only legal if the individual has a second one, and it was thought Ms Begum may have a claim in Bangladesh because of her family background, but Bangladeshi officials denied this.
The letter said: ‘Shamima Begum‘s parents never contemplated a life for her in Bangladesh. They did not register her birth with the Bangladeshi High Commission.
‘They did not take her to Bangladesh on holiday as a child. Indeed she has never visited the country.
‘Rather, Shamima was born, raised, groomed and radicalised here in the UK.
‘The suggestion that Shamima is to you genuinely a Bangladeshi citizen is unsustainable.‘
It added: ‘It is the responsibility of a British Secretary of State to deal with British problems.
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‘Rather than take responsibility for Shamima Begum and her son, you took a British problem and illegally dumped it on our innocent international neighbours.
‘You have dishonourably left it to the Kurdish people to bear the financial and security burden of Shamima‘s safety and upkeep.
‘You left them to minister to her sick child and to bury him. Through sleight of hand, you have sought to burden the Bangladeshis with her in the longer term.
‘Your cynical decision amounts to human fly-tipping.‘
In April it emerged that Begum had been granted legal aid to fight the decision to remove her citizenship.
In a decision blasted as ‘disgusting’ and ‘ridiculous’ by MPs, her lawyers successfully asked for taxpayers’ cash on her behalf.
It means taxpayers face a legal bill which could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds to fund her fight to come back to the UK.
Begum will not be able to attend the case – which will be decided by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission – because she has been barred from returning to Britain.
Her account of her years with the group, which she joined aged 15, is that she was a devoted housewife focused on raising her children, who died of malnutrition.
Her husband Yago Riedijk, a Dutch fighter, said that Begum just ‘sat in the house’ and that she would pose no danger if allowed back to the UK.
But an altogether different picture was painted for Theresa May and Sajid Javid.
A senior intelligence source told the Mail on Sunday ion April: ‘She was involved and her former comrades have grassed her.
How Britain can strip citizenship from its enemies – as long as they are not ‘stateless‘
International law forbids nations from making people stateless by revoking their only citizenship.
Britain appears to believe that Ms Begum, who is of Bangladeshi heritage, holds dual citizenship.
Under the 1981 British Nationality Act, any Briton can be deprived of their citizenship if it is ‘conducive to the public good‘ – and they do not become stateless as a result.
A 2017 government report on the issue said the Home Secretary has the power to ‘deprive a person of British citizenship‘ if it would be ‘conducive to the public good‘.
However, this only applies if the person would not be left stateless.
If it is the case Ms Begum is a dual national, she could have her British citizenship stripped.
Those who are outside of the UK have 28 days to lodge an appeal from the time they receive their Home Office letter.
‘She was literally stitching the vests, stitching them into the vests.’
An anti-IS activist group Sound and Picture also claimed Begum was paid between £500 and £1,500 a month to serve in IS’s ‘morality police’, enforcing laws such as women’s dress codes.
It came at the same time it was alleged she had stitched suicide bombers into explosive vests, and carried a Kalashnikov rifle and served in a senior role in the IS’s ‘morality police’ as an enforcer of its laws.
MPs said the ‘ridiculous’ decision to grant her legal aid demonstrated the need to reform the legal aid system.
Tory MP Philip Davies said: ‘It’s absolutely disgusting how we are funding this person who is someone who joined an organisation that wants to destroy our way of life and our country.
‘How she has been allowed to sponge off taxpayers’ money to get back into a country that she hates is absolutely ridiculous.’
Tory MP Tim Loughton, former chairman of the home affairs select committee, said: ‘This shows that the Home Secretary was right to strip her of British citizenship.
‘Playing the victim card when she has clearly been an active and willing participant in the most barbaric terrorist organisation in the world has now been exposed for the lie it was and the UK should have nothing to do with her.’
Who is Shamima Begum‘s lawyer?
Mohammed Tasnime Akunjee
Privately-educated lawyer Tasnime Akunjee has represented the families of the three girls from Tower Hamlets, east London, who fled the UK to join Islamic State, including Shamima Begum, since 2015.
Since she was found in a Syrian refugee camp in mid-February, Mr Akunjee has caused controversy by comparing the 19-year-old ISIS bride to a First World War soldier and said she had been treated worse than Nazi war criminals. Mr Akunjee has been spearheading the campaign to get Ms Begum repatriated to the UK.
Previous clients of the criminal defence lawyer include one of Lee Rigby‘s killers. He once blamed British authorities for ‘creating‘ Fusilier Rigby‘s killer, suggested Theresa May has ‘Nazi blood‘ for trying to root out extremists and urged Muslims not to cooperate with police.
Twice married Mr Akunjee, 41, has worked for a series of law firms since 2008, while also working as a legal adviser to the East London Mosque.
It is believed he may have met the families of the runaway Tower Hamlets girls as part of this role.
Mr Akunjee said he is handling the Begum case ‘pro bono‘, meaning free of charge. It is unclear whether that would continue if the case came before the British courts in future.
According to his LinkedIn page, Mr Akunjee, the son of a Bangladeshi doctor, studied at the £18,000-a-year City of London School for Boys.
He went on to study law at the Universities of Sussex and then Westminster.