Bangladesh has reinforced its stance that it will not allow British citizen Shamima Begum – the schoolgirl who fled London to join the ISIS in Syria – into the country because she “was never a Bangladeshi national”.
Ms Begum is a British citizen of Bangladeshi descent but her citizenship to the latter country is disputed. Bangladesh’s foreign minister Ar AK Abdul Momen said in February that his country would not accept Ms Begum.
“Bangladesh’s firm position is – British citizen Shamima Begum has never been a Bangladeshi national, she has also no right to claim in this regard and there is no question to allow her to enter into Bangladesh,’ the South Asian country’s foreign affairs ministry said a statement on Tuesday.
In February 2015 when she was aged 15, Ms Begum and two schoolmates fled from east London through Turkey to Syria, where they were married off to ISIS fighters.
She was found in a Syrian refugee camp, nine months pregnant, in February last year. Ms Begum, now 20, is in legal limbo after Britain refused to let her back in and stripped her of her passport in February last year. She is still based in Syria.
The British government reportedly made the decision after receiving advice that Ms Begum could qualify for Bangledeshi citizenship.
Last week, Ms Begum’s lawyers told a British appeals court that her citizenship should be restored because she cannot have a "fair and effective appeal" against the government's decision in her case.
The High Court heard last Thursday that ISIS recruit had no hope of a "fair and effective appeal" because she is not allowed into Britain.
Last year, she took legal action against the Home Office at the High Court and the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), a specialist tribunal that deals with decisions to remove someone's British citizenship on national security grounds.
In February, SIAC ruled that the decision to revoke Ms Begum’s British citizenship did not render her stateless, and was therefore lawful, as she was “a citizen of Bangladesh by descent” at the time of the decision.
In Syria, Ms Begum married Dutch ISIS fighter Yago Riedijk and had three children who all died.