Dutch husband of British IS teenager Begum wants to take her to Netherlands: Reports
The Dutch husband of a British teenager who was stripped of her citizenship after joining the Islamic State (IS) group wants to return to the Netherlands with their child, the BBC and Reuters reported on Sunday.
Shamima Begum, 19, left London with two school friends to join IS when she was 15, but has said she wants to return to the UK with her newborn son. Her British citizenship was revoked last month on security grounds.
Begum's family received a letter stating that the UK's home secretary, Sajid Javid, made the decision "to deprive" Begum of her citizenship, the British news outlet ITV reported.
The fate of Begum, who was found in a detention camp in Syria last month, illustrates the ethical, legal and security conundrum that governments face when dealing with militants who wish to return and their children.
Fourteen people were deprived of citizenship on the grounds that their presence in the UK was "not conducive to the public good" in 2016, MEE reported earlier. The number swelled to 104 people in 2017, according to government figures.
Citing an interview with Begum’s husband Yago Riedijk, the BBC reported he had fought for IS but surrendered to a group of Syrian fighters and was being held in a Kurdish detention centre in northeast Syria.
Riedijk, 27, says he now rejects IS. Instead, he wants to return home to the Netherlands with his wife and their newborn son. Their first two children died.
"I would love to go back to my own country... I now understand the privileges I lived with. The privilege of living there as a citizen," he said.
"I understand that many people have a problem with what I did... I have to take responsibility for what I did. Serve my sentence."
Asked if he thought marrying a girl of Begum's age at the time was acceptable, he acknowledged that she had been "very young".
"She seemed in a good state of mind," he said, referring to when he first met her. "It was her own choice. She asked to look for a partner for her, and I was invited. She was very young ... she chose to get married and I chose to marry her."
He said he did not see how Begum could be deemed a threat by the British authorities.
"I don't understand how she would, in any form, be a danger. All she did was she sat in the house for three years, took care of me and my children," he said.
A spokesman for the Dutch Justice and Security Ministry said they could not comment on individual cases.
Speaking generally, he told AFP: "The Netherlands don't offer any help to Dutchmen in Syria willing to return. If someone reports at a Dutch embassy or consulate, that person will be transported to the Netherlands, arrested and prosecuted."
Middle East Eye reported earlier that the attempt to block Begum's return to Britain may be thwarted after a recent legal ruling that ordered the UK government to restore citizenship to two British nationals suspected of involvement in terrorism
The Home Office had cited "terrorism-related and national security grounds" in its decision to strip two men of their UK citizenship.
Like Begum, both men are of Bangladeshi origin, and the court ruled that the government's decision had left them stateless.