The mother of Shamima Begum, the British schoolgirl who joined ISIS, has said her world “came apart” when she ran away from home.
Asma Begum said her daughter’s bedroom in the family home has not been touched since she left for Syria in 2015.
“My youngest daughter is even more present in my mind, the one I think about almost every hour of every day,” the mother said in a statement read during an appeal against the government’s decision to strip. Mrs. Begumnow 23, of his British citizenship.
“When she left home in 2015, our worlds fell apart. Her drawers are still full, her perfume, pens and jewelry, her clothes are still there. Her pajamas are folded neatly.
“Her school blazer is still hanging on the front door just like it was when she left.”
Ms Begum’s citizenship was revoked by the Home Ministry for national security reasons after she was found nine months pregnant in a Syrian refugee camp in February 2019.
Dan Squires KC, her lawyer, told the Special Immigration Appeals Commission on the third day of the appeal that her mother’s words were “a strong indication” of the connection between Ms Begum and her family.
The family, who live in Bethnal Green, east London, were not taken into account in the decision to strip her of her citizenship, he said, violating their human right to a family life.
The decision to strip Begum of her citizenship was taken by Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary at the time, who claimed that she also held Bangladeshi citizenship.
The government was not allowed to leave her stateless under international law.
‘Bangladesh wanted to hang her’
Sir. Squires said on Wednesday that she would be hanged if she were to return to Bangladesh and was now effectively stateless.
Sir. Javid should have considered the effect of removing Ms Begum’s citizenship as she had never visited Bangladesh and had no passport to the country, he said.
“Clearly he did not take into account the prospect that the deprivation decision would render the appellant de facto stateless,” Mr Squires said.
The Bangladeshi authorities said they did not consider her to be a Bangladeshi national and would not provide her with assistance.
Squires added: “On the contrary, the authorities in Bangladesh would have confirmed that the appellant would be hanged if she entered the country.”
Begum’s lawyers also argued that the decision to revoke her citizenship did not take into account anti-discrimination laws and led to British Muslims feeling singled out and discriminated against.
Sir. Squires said the government’s actions disproportionately targeted British Muslims, citing findings from the Institute of Race Relations, which said the deprivation policy was “almost exclusively” applied to Muslims.
The government maintains there was no error of law in Mr Javid’s decision to revoke her citizenship and says the power to revoke is an important tool to protect the public.
Lawyers for the Home Office, who are due to make their oral arguments on Thursday, said Ms Begum was in Syria “as a result of her own choice to leave Britain”.
Sir James Eadie KC, for the department, continued in written submissions: “It is not appropriate to start from the time Mrs Begum left the UK and assume that the family ties would have remained the same.
“There was in fact no equality issue raised by the individual decision in Ms Begum’s case.”
The hearing in London before Mr Justice Jay is due to conclude on Friday and a decision is expected in writing at a later date.