Shamima Begum's British citizenship 'should be restored in wake of baby's death'

A lawyer for Islamic State child bride Shamima Begum has called on the Home Office to reinstate her British citizenship as "an act of mercy".

Monday, 11th March 2019, 2:04 pm
Updated Monday, 11th March 2019, 3:08 pm
Shamima Begum
Shamima Begum

Tasnime Akunjee has called on officials to reverse their decision to strip her of a UK passport following the death of her infant son in a refugee camp.

The 19-year-old, who fled the UK for Syria four years ago, gave interviews from a refugee camp saying she wished to return to the UK for the baby's safety after her two older children died.

But as a debate raged over how she should be treated, Home Secretary Sajid Javid stripped her of her citizenship and on Friday her three-week old son Jarrah died from pneumonia.

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The letter to the Home Office, also posted on Twitter, said: "We write specifically on behalf of Mrs Begum, Shamima Begum's mother, to ask you to reconsider your previous decision dated February 19 2019 to deprive her daughter Begum of her British citizenship ...

"Ms Begum requests this reconsideration, as an act of mercy, on the basis of the following new information, namely the death of her newborn son."

It adds: "It is extremely unlikely that Shamima will be in a fit state to make any rational decisions.

"The family have still not been able to contact her directly and their request for any help from the British government to contact Shamima and her baby was refused in writing by the Home Office on March 5."

The Government had suggested Ms Begum could apply for a Bangladeshi passport but this was refused.

Her family claim UK officials had not consulted Bangladesh before making their decision.

Mr Akunjee added: "You will appreciate there are immediate fears for Shamima's health and safety, and the matter is urgent.

"In the circumstances I'd be grateful for an immediate reply in respect of any reconsideration and the reasons underlying any decision in this respect within the next 24 hours."

In the wake of the baby's death, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said officials are working on how to rescue British children born to Islamic State runaways.

The Foreign Secretary's defence came after it was reported two further women married into the terror group have been stripped of their UK citizenship while being held in detention camps with their children.