Former Daesh bride Shamima Begum is “highly likely” to face arrest upon her return to the United Kingdom, the former head of the Metropolitan police anti-terrorism unit said on Friday.
Speaking to LBC, Richard Walton, who led Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism division from 2011 to 2016, said that the 20-year old, who fled the UK to join Daesh, would likely be arrested to stand in a later terror trial if she decides to return to her country of birth.
Mr Walton also said he believes the appeal court decision on Thursday to allow her to return to the country was a "mistake" and "undermines" the ability of government officials to maintain public safety.
“Frankly it is alarming to see the court of appeal taking over the Home Secretary's responsibility of who should be allowed in the UK", he said . “It has opened the door for her return to Britain and has undermined a statutory power of parliament".
“She is highly likely to be arrested... but it is almost impossible to gather sufficient evidence from war zones", he added.
Mr Walton also predicted that the decision would be overturned either by the Supreme Court or legislation in parliament.
The government said following the ruling that it was "bitterly disappointed" with the move.
A spokesperson for Number 10 said that the government's priority is "maintaining our national security", and that decisions to deprive individuals of their citizenship are not taken lightly.
"We will always ensure the safety and security of the UK and will not allow anything to jeopardise this", the spokesperson said.
Sajid Javid, the former home secretary who removed Ms Begum's citizenship on that basis of national security, said he was "deeply concerned" by the ruling.
However, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokeswoman Christine Jardine said that the ruling "vindicates our argument" that the decision to strip someone of their citizenship is a very serious one and "should only be taken when absolutely necessary".
Begum left the UK and traveled to Syria through Turkey to join the terrorist organisation in 2015, when she was 15-years old. She was then married to a Dutch-born Daesh fighter, with whom she had 3 children.
The two eldest died and after asking to return to the UK, gave birth to her third child in February 2019, who reportedly died of a lung infection a month later.
* Daesh (aka ISIS/ISIL/IS/Islamic State) is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries