08:25 GMT12 May 2021
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    The family of Daesh bride Shamima Begum said they will challenge Sajid Javid’s decision to revoke the girl’s British citizenship. Bangladesh asserted Shamima is not a Bangladeshi citizen, and is not allowed into the country.

    So given the confusion surrounding Shamima’s citizenship, Professor of International Law at Middlesex University in London William Schabas explained what her current legal status is.

    Sputnik: The family of Daesh bride Shamima Begum said they will challenge UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid's decision to revoke the girl's British citizenship. Bangladesh asserted Shamima is not a Bangladeshi citizen, and is not allowed into the country. So given the confusion surrounding Shamima's citizenship, could you please explain what her current status is?

    Professor William Schabas: What we don't have confirmation of is whether she's a dual citizen. And that's quite crucial to the conversation, because, if she's only a British national and she's not a dual citizen, then it's really impossible for the Home Secretary to revoke her citizenship. That would make her a stateless person, and Britain is prohibited from doing that. So that's really the first question, that is, whether or not she is also a citizen of Bangladesh. And who would know better than the government of Bangladesh?

    So, if they say she's not a citizen, I don't really know how much further we can go, and it's hard to argue with Bangladesh, if they say she's not a citizen. If the Home Secretary proceeds nevertheless, of course, it will go to the courts, and I would presume that it would be successful. The alternative is that the they could determine that she is a Bangladeshi citizen — in which case, the law here in the United Kingdom allows them to remove her citizenship.

    It's my opinion that International Law entitles her to return to the United Kingdom, even if she's been stripped of her citizenship, because the human rights treaties say that everyone has the right to enter their own country and it's her own country. She doesn't have another country. The United Kingdom is her only country: that's where she was born, where she was raised.

    So she has the right to enter the United Kingdom under international law. That's a matter, of course, that would have to be debated in courts, and the lawyers for her and her family would have to convince the judge of that; but I would think that the government is going to have a hard time arguing against it.

    Sputnik: Shamima told Sky News she is "willing to change," and demanded British politicians to show her "a bit more mercy".  What do you think of these statements?

    Professor William Schabas: Everybody can change, people change, and she can change. And she's entitled to have her opinions, as well. Everybody is free to have opinions about anything they want. The question is whether they actually act upon them. And so the real issue is her behaviour. It's not what her attitudes are, and what she says or whether she's made up her mind. I mean, she could come tomorrow and say, "Yes, I've changed my mind. I changed everything. I'm a different person."

    The question would be whether we believe her. And really, the only issue that should interest us is whether her behaviour has changed. And then the question is, what is it about her behaviour that should change? As far as I can see, the main complaint about her behaviour is that she went to join Daesh in the Middle East; and so she wants to come back here, that's a pretty big change in her behaviour.

    The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    citizenship, repatriation, jihadi brides, Shamima Begum, United Kingdom
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